A Girl from Hunan

1987 [CHINESE]


IMDb Rating 7.2 10 198

Plot summary

March 22, 2023 at 05:39 AM


U Lan

Top cast

904.82 MB
Chinese 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 38 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by / 10

Reviewed by charz_mcg 10 / 10

Absolutely Stunning Film

A Girl from Hunan (Xiangnu xiaoxiao), released in 1986 and directed by Xie Fei, is a drama set in China in 1990, about a young girl, Xiao Xiao, who through an arranged marriage ends up going to live high in a mountain village with her young husband, Chun Guan's, family. The film tells the story of her life growing up and the problems she encounters as we watch her grow from a girl of around twelve to transform into a young woman of sixteen. She has a love affair with the rice field worker, Huagou, and we watch the consequences unfold for the couple as they disobey clan rules. When Huagou runs away he leaves Xiao Xiao to deal with the family and the community by herself and await her punishment.

I really enjoyed watching this film. Xie Fei uses long shots of the Chinese countryside and village to set the scene and throughout the film we see breathtaking scenery shots of rice fields, mountains, the river and the buildings. It is just simply beautiful and really shows the audience how important the natural environment is to the Chinese people and how much of a role it plays in their life as they rely on it as a source of food, water, shelter etc. We also see another example of how the community has built its life around the river as its main natural source when we see a medium shot of the entrance to the town. The camera is still but the river is flowing fast and swirling around and the people in the town are bustling past each other creating a sense happening and a place of excitement. The naturalness of the film has a calm and peaceful feeling to it, creating a relaxing effect while watching it and making you feel at one with nature. Pan shots of the mountains in the film give a sense of the vastness of the area and the overwhelming effect of greatness. The authentic Chinese music and natural sounds, such as the flow of the river and the birds calling to one another, aided these spectacular shots as well as other scenes. Colour was expressed in the film in scenes such as the marriage ceremonies and in the town and this really showed the beauty of the Chinese culture.

The importance of community and following clan rules is communicated often throughout the film creating an underlying message or theme and this is another example of the Chinese culture that shines through. Another theme that comes through is that of the want for freedom in a strict and organised society. Xiao Xiao lives a very controlled and structured life and must not put a foot out of line otherwise there will be harsh punishment and when she first hears of the 'girl students' who walk around the town she longs to experience their life of freedom, money and education, but it is clear that the family disapproves.

Close up camera shots are used effectively to show emotion of on the faces of the characters. This influences the audiences mood and makes you feel as though you are there experiencing it for yourself. The film has such a natural flow and feels like it is happening at the present time and that you are actually in the film watching the characters in real life rather than the staged and story effect some films have. It was very easy to watch because of this.

I thought the actors did a fantastic job of portraying the characters in the film. Each of them, especially the main characters Xiao Xiao played by Renhua Na and Huagou played by Xiaoguang Deng, captured and had me involved in the film. The emotion shown from Na in certain scenes showed Xiao Xiao's ignorance of life and this had me feeling sorry for her at certain points. I had a sense of anger towards the character Huagou as he took advantage of Xiao Xiao's ignorance. Deng had me emotionally involved in the film and I felt that I could read all the workings in his characters mind. I congratulate both of these actors because allowing the audience to become involved in the film really enhances the watching experience.

The beginning of the film and ending of the film have been cleverly constructed and I love how the film's opening scene and closing scene connect. The film starts off with Xiao Xiao being taken to the village for her marriage ceremony in her small chamber. It ends in a similar way with another marriage ceremony and the future wife arriving in a small chamber like Xiao Xiao. It completes the cycle in a way and was a fantastic ending to the film because it was happy. It also suggests that even after a few years the same customs are still being followed and nothing much has changed in terms of tradition.

The beauty of the Chinese culture and natural environment in this film captured me and made it impressive to watch and I recommend it to all viewers!

Reviewed by karenz 10 / 10

Beautiful imagery compliments a very human story.

I ran across this movie late at night on the Independent Film Channel and was utterly under its sway within minutes. The story of the young girl/woman who spends her youth as a caretaker for her future husband is heartbreaking. The cyclical nature of cultural traditions is explored in a very straightforward manner, but the beautiful, static scenes puntuating the different acts of the movie are a wonderfully poetic touch.

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