Finally unbanned by China's political thaw, this is the finest movie made in China since the Beijing massacre. Fifth-generation woman director Li Shaohong has freely adapted the García Márquez novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold to produce a truly shocking account of the consequences of poverty and backwardness in a North China village. In her version, the victim of the all-too-preventable killing is not a wealthy man but the village teacher, the only intellectual in a community of peasants. The build-up to the crime, explored in a web of flashbacks, turns out to hinge on the inner rage of a 36-year-old male virgin and on the puritanical stance of traditional village society; but what Li ultimately lays bare is the psyche of a people for whom existence means no more than survival.
Cast and crew
Li Shaohong, Xiao Mao