Rural Laughs, Gorgeous Beauty

The Story of Qui Ju. Image courtesy of Sony PicturesFighting for shelf space against Brokeback Mountain and The Chronicles of Narnia, look for Gong Li in The Story of Qui Ju.

Amazon lists the DVD as being released last week, but whatever the case, it might be hard to find at a brick and mortar retailer. It’s being released through Sony Pictures, which should guarantee at least a minimum order from retailers and rental shops. I’ve had some success looking in the “Drama” section for foreign-language titles, rather than in the “New Release” area.

Hard-bitten Anthony Lane wrote in The New Yorker: “This new film by the Chinese director Zhang Yimou is a far cry from his earlier work. After such intense, forbidding fables as ‘Red Sorghum’ and ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ we are now offered a rough-edged comedy about a man kicked in the groin by the village elder.”

With the recent release on DVD of the horridly boring Memoirs of a Geisha, perhaps disappointed viewers of that disaster will be sufficiently intrigued by Gong Li to search out her earlier work. Though I haven’t seen The Story of Qui Ju, which was released in 1993, I still recommend this colloboration between her and real-life love (at the time) director Zhang Yimou.

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