18 August 2013 | nomaster-169-541249
The Village of Pretty Women
This is a surprisingly charming film from Zhang Zheng (although IMDb credits Tsen Chang) and the Beijing Film Studio. Xiao Hua was one of the earliest post-Mao films (1980) and was part of the great renaissance of the modern Chinese cinema. While production values are often very low-budget, the cast and the story rise above the obvious limitations of a tight schedule and little money. This is a tale of babies taken from their parents during the tumultuous time of the Chinese civil war. Xiao Hua (Joan Chen) and He Cuigu (Liu Xiaoqing) are two young women who have grown up to find that they have much in common. The camaraderie and the courage of these two are really the film's strength and the sympathetic treatment given to the ordinary soldiers in this historic struggle transcends the usual propagandistic outlook that was still symptomatic of some of this era's cinema product. Chen and Liu are very beguiling and set the scene for a very human and touching tale.