Time Out says

Illegally resident in Beijing, Wang Guixiang (Liao) scratches a living hawking pirated VCDs until everything goes wrong: the cops confiscate her stock, her husband (Li) is imprisoned for assault and the neighbours do a bunk, leaving her literally holding their baby. Sent back to her country-town home by the authorities, she runs into a former boyfriend (Wei) who suggests that she'd make a good 'cry-woman' - a professional mourner who sings and wails for hire at funerals. Liu tried to set this up as a legal production, but when the China Film Bureau vetoed the script made it as a foreign-financed underground indie. The approach (non-pro cast, semi-improvised scenes, protracted wide-angle shots) and the small town setting make it very 'school of Jia Zhangke', and some narrative elisions seem more clumsy than inspired. But the central idea - a woman expresses her own pain only by performing at strangers' funerals - is a good one, and Liao's hard-as-nails performance as Guixiang is up there with Alia's in Ermo as an icon of female strength, will and resilience.


Release details

91 mins

Cast and crew

Liu Bingjian
Liu Bingjian, Deng Ye
Liao Qin
Wei Xingkun
Li Longjun
Wen Jing
Wu Wengli
Zhou Yihui
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