THE STORY OF QIU JU
DIRECTOR: ZHANG YIMOU
CHINA 1993
CINEMATOGRAPHY: ZHANG YIMOU
MUSIC: ZHAO JI PING
NOVEL BY: CHEN YUAN BIN, who also scripted.
CAST: Gong Li (Qiu Ju), Leique Sheng (Wan), Ge Shi Jun (Neizi), Liu Pei Qi (Chief Wang), Yang Liu Chun (Officer Li)
SUPER FEATURES: Story and Acting


It is hard to figure out this film, however nice it really is. It is, either, about an ageing China political/social system, that is coming to grips with its own inpending death, or it is about a system that has been so unfair for so long, that, inevitable hopes for it to do anything "right", has become a near impossibility, and that there are times when people do err in judgment, as Qiu Ju, has done. While not very serious a charge at the end, the history of the nation has shown that anyone entering their jails, rarely returns....... and Qiu Ju has made a mistake of her total commitment to an invisible justice.

The man that Qiu Ju's husband works for (Chief Wang) has kicked the husband between the legs severely enough to warrant his going to see a doctor. Qiu Ju, files a complaint with the authorities, but since the employer is also the chief of the area, her complaints do not go very far. She takes it to a higher authority (Officer Li) whose intentions are good, but at times lackadaisical, or maybe he is just too busy with an overload of household cases.

The resolution is handed by Officer Li, but Chief Wang is an old line imperialist, and he downgrades Qiu Ju, by throwing the payment on the ground, and calling her a pig. She leaves and takes her complaint to a higher authority. The same solution ensues. She appeals to an even higher authority that requires that Qiu Ju's husband also take a physical. And when he gets it done, the charge on Chief Wang gets upgraded to Assault, and he is punished with several days in jail.

This last step on the case is the important one. As the case gets finally taken by higher authorities who come over and investigate everything in sight, Qiu Ju's baby is born. And it was Chief Wang's valiant effort that brought the woman to town to see a doctor. And when the chief is to join a celebration for the newborn child, it is the same moment when he gets taken away. Story goes that people taken away do not usually make it back in one piece, either because of abuse, or just plain, bad jails. And Qiu Ju's face in the end says it all. Either this system has become too big for any clear cut path to justice, or it has failed somewhere... is there anyone at fault.?

Zhang Yimou, has done a very nice film, beautifully photographed, with much care, about a China that is on the decline, something which might allow his country to keep making films, and entering the world stage. The subject matter is not "today" per se, as much as it is 'aged'.... as Qiu Ju moves on further away from home to reach a higher level of jurisdiction, so does the China she find becomes busier, noisier, more populated, and more dishonest, or careless. And it prompts the well meaning Officer Li to say that he is only good for finding cows, not being an Officer, as he has probably been either disciplined, or reprimanded, for his conduct in the Qiu Ju case. It is a sad statement on the affairs of this over populated country. The system has to depend on the locals to help, but many of them are not educated, or have some preferential tendencies for whatever reason... which interferes with a fair result in many cases... something which the film would tend to tell us, has got to be changed....

Excellent acting by Gong Li, and the surrounding cast.... it is rather odd........ we never get the feeling, or idea, that anyone is acting. It all just seems so smooth, and so clear. The ending, with its quick run into a close up on Qiu Ju's face, is the closest we come to "film-like" tendencies which we are used to see. The rest of the film kinda "lives" with the family of Qiu Ju.....

4 GIBLOONS

 

   

      

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