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Image courtesy of Icarus Films

“An astonishing feature debut. [Ms. Wang captures] vulnerability, joy, pain, and anguish with insight and delicate artistry. A major new voice in nonfiction cinema.” 
 —The New York Film Festival

“A remarkable movie and a remarkable achievement. A panorama of family history entwined with a portrait of China in recent years. Seek this movie out!”
—Robin Hood Radio “Films in Focus”

This is a film about remembering and forgetting, ending and restarting, forgiving and reconciliation, scarring and healing. With an HD camera, 22-year-old Qiong digs into her family history and reality, exploring the complexity of politics, gender, sex, birth control as well as the social political power over women’s bodies.

Qiong’s mother was pregnant eight times, and gave birth four times. In early 1990s, she gave birth to two girls, Li and Qiong. After that, in order to have a son, she got pregnant another six times in 10 years.

Among the five aborted girls, one survived: Jin. In the 7th month of the pregnancy, Qiong’s mother found out Jin’s gender and had an artificial miscarriage procedure carried out in a hospital. Yet the child came out alive, and the parents put the infant beside a road leading into the village. However, the premature Jin had somehow survived despite ulcers all over her body after spending a week in the January frost. The parents later gave her to their sister who was infertile. She agreed to bring Jin up as her own child.

Jin and Qiong grew up together as “cousins,” having no idea of their real relationship. Not until Jin became an adult did their parents explain her history. Their parents were ashamed of their actions, and hoped for forgiveness, but it was hard for Jin, now mother of a one-year-old and was getting ready to do migrant work in the coastal area. Li, Qiong’s elder sister, got pregnant again in her second marriage and was expecting a baby in 2014. Under pressure to bear a male heir, Li, like her mother, would choose an abortion if the baby was found out to be female. At this critical moment, Qiong wants to see what a camera can do to heal the family.  In Mandarin with English subtitles. Director: Qiong Wang (US 2021) 175 min.

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