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LI SHUANG-SHUANG

China, 1962 (MIFF 1965)

Director: Lu Jen

Li Shuang-Shuang is perhaps the most outstanding film yet made about life in the Chinese countryside. Through the clashes between an ordinary peasant and his wife, in a people's commune, it reflects the conflict between the old and the new. Although different in temperament, Shuang-Shuang and her husband love each other, and the tussle between them is played out as a comedy.

The old moral concept, and the new, are expressed mainly through the attitude to collective work. Shuang-Shuang is a typical north-Chinese peasant woman, outspoken and frank. After the establishment of the commune in 1958, she stars to work like ihe men, identifying herself with the collective.

Her husband's contrasting character is well depicted: he is a kindhearted, hardworking young man who has inherited a set of rules which includes the belief that a woman's place is at home. But the new way of life changes the peasants' outlook, in feet, the whole countryside is changing, and along with it moral standards and human relationships. The title role is played by Chang Jui-fang, one of China's best known actresses, and her husband is excellently portrayed hy Chung Hsing-huo, an estab­lished actor in humorous roles.

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© Melbourne International Film Festival 2013.

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