Cry Woman

Kuqide Nuren

Year: 2001
Country: China
Running time: 91 mins

Screenplay: Liu Bingjian, Deng Ye
Photography: Xu Wei
Editor: Zhou Ying
Music: Dong Liqiang
With: Liao Qin, Wei Xingkun, Zhu Jiayue, Li Longjun, Wen Jing
In Mandarin and Guizhou, with English subtitles

Festivals: Cannes (Un Certain Regard), Edinburgh, Toronto, Vancouver 2002; Rotterdam 2003
This vivid, funny black comedy about 21st-century materialism hi-jacking tradition in rural China has a striking veracity about it. Wang Guixiang, the feisty anti-heroine, exploits her ability to turn on the tears as a professional mourner at weddings. Her married boyfriend runs a funeral business: he’s a shameless ambulance chaser. “Liu Bingjian’s tragi-comedy gets as close as any film this year to the social and moral anarchy that most working-class Chinese live with at street level… Liu uses the real-life phenomenon of cry-women to channel his sense of the way sexual and economic questions intertwine – and his limitless sympathy for the real underdogs in Chinese society… The fact that it has to present itself as a Canadian-Korean-French co-production reflects sadly on the state of China’s film industry; it’s actually a China indie, made and exported below the radar of the government’s Film Bureau. The Chinese audience can’t see it (at least, not legally), but the rest of the world is luckier.” — Tony Rayns