The RAS Film Club is pleased to announce a special screening event during the Shanghai lockdown. Let's watch Hibiscus Town, a 1986 melodrama based on a novel of the same name directed by Xie Jin (谢晋). Blending love, humiliation, and politics, the film is a moving account of survival in the face of widespread social and political upheavals, told with clarity, compassion, and insight.
In 1963 a young woman Hu Yuyin owns a small rice-tofu business in the remote Hibiscus town in Hunan province. Through determination and hard work, she and her husband make some money and build a new house. Li Guoxiang, a manager of a state-owned store is jealous of Yuyin and vows to crack down on the "capitalist roaders". Qin Shutian, an intellectual who writes songs for Yuyin's wedding but is now capped as a Rightist and Counter-Revolutionist, frequents Yuyin's side-walk business often. Li Guoxiang's career is on a stellar rise due to her uncle's connections as well as her revolutionary resolve. She is promoted as a cadre in the province but often comes back to Hibiscus town to direct campaigns and movements…
The film won Best Film and Best Actress at China's Golden Rooster Awards and Hundred Flowers Awards in 1987. It also won Crystal Global, the Grand Pix at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 1988.
The entire film is with English subtitles and can be watched for free here.
This event will be a discussion of the film. Please watch it beforehand.
About the Director
Chinese director Xie Jin (1923-2008) is one of the most remarkable artists in the history of the cinema of mainland China and, arguably, its most significant director. Xie directed more than 20 films in his career. His debut work, Woman Basketball Player No. 5, was the first colored sports film in PRC, which won the silver prize at the 6th International Youth Film Festival in 1957, and the Silver Hat Prize in Mexico International Film Week in 1958. His film The Red Detachment of Women won the Best Picture and Best Directing of the 1st Hundred Flowers Awards and it also won the Wanlong Prize at the 3rd Asia-Africa Film Festival in 1964. Later China Central Ballet Troupe adapted the film and choreographed a ballet show. Xie's 1965 film Two Stage Sisters won the Sutherland Trophy of the British Film Institute Awards at the 24th London Film Festival. It also won prizes in Portugal and Manila international film festivals. In the 1980s Xie directed three films reflecting the realities of the Culture Revolution which were hailed as a "trilogy for self-reflection" by Chinese critics. The three films are Legend of Tianyun Mountain, Wreaths at the Foot of Mountains, and Hibiscus Town.
A comprehensive summary of Xie's career can be found here.
For RAS members who signed up under the joint/family option.
For members of other RAS branches and chapters.
You may be asked to provide proof of membership.
Max. 5 tickets per RAS Institutional member.