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China / France, 2005 (MIFF 2006, Transience: The Asian Metropolis)

Director: Yu Li


A cross-generational story of ostracism, love and the legacy of the past, Dam Street chronicles the life of a woman whose teenage indiscretion continues to haunt her years after the event.

In a rural Chinese town, high-school girl Xiaoyun faces the indignation of her family and the local community when she becomes pregnant. Her sister helps deliver the baby and have it secretly adopted, though Xiaoyun is deceived into believing the baby died during its birth.

Ten years later, Xiaoyun is still dogged by her past. Despite her training to perform Sichuan opera, her pariah status has reduced her to singing in a crass song-and-dance troupe and being the object of crude taunts and sexual advances. A chance friendship with a young local boy sets in motion a chain of events as the secrets of the past unravel.

Complemented by a starkly photo-graphed Sichuan region and under the guiding directorial hand of Li Yu, Dam Street is both an apt reflection of contemporary China and a universal story of outcast teens.

Won the CICAE award at the 2005 Venice Film Festival.

D Li Yu P Fang Fi WS Bavaria Film GmbH L Mandarin w/English subtitles TD 35mm/2004/93mins

Li Yu was born in Shangdong Province, China, in 1973. Her films include Sisters (1999, doco) and Fish and Elephant (2001).

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