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China, 2002 (MIFF 2002, Regional Focus)

Director: Liu Bingjian

Banned in China, yet screening at Cannes this year in Un Certain Regard, Beijing filmmaker Liu Bingjian's third feature (the other two were also banned) has struck a chord for its equally humorous and honest portrayal of mainland Chinese life in all its contradictions.

Guixiang, a strong and independent woman, is forced to move back to her home town after the arrest of her husband. Saddled with an abandoned chiId, her husband's debts catch up with her when a gambler he crossed catches up with Guixiang, demanding compensation. Guixiang breaks down in tears - giving her an idea to raise money through professional mourning. After a few false starts and dissatisfied customers, she soon becomes the most popular 'cry woman' in the province.

"Driving the film is a terrific performance by screen newcomer Liao Qin (a real-life Peking opera performer) as the title character. She is entirely believable as a driven, streetwise young woman who would sing a heartbreaking funeral lament one minute, and casually strip off to service a prison governor the next." - Variety

A graduate of the Beijing Film Academy, Liu Bingjian (born in 1963) initially worked in television. Following his debut feature, Inkstone (1996), his second film, Men and Women (1999), was internationally praised for its realistic and humorous look at homosexuality in Chinese society. Cry Woman is his third film.

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