Gillian Flynn
October 22, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
99 minutes
Limited Release Date
05/07/99
performer
Lopsang, Lulu
director
Joan Chen
distributor
Stratosphere Entertainment
genre
Foreign Language

We gave it an A-

In 1970s Communist China, millions of city kids were shuttled off to the country as part of a massive work program. One of them, Xiu Xiu (Lu Lu), is desperate to return home, despite her apprenticeship with a kind horse trainer (Lopsang). In a series of horrific barters, she offers sex to men in hopes that they’ll help her. The sacrifice is all the more brutal in comparison with the genuine friendship she shares with her trainer — a relationship delicately drawn against a glorious Asian backdrop.

Reel goodies

(0:29) When Xiu Xiu’s friend indulges her with an unexpected hot bath, she looks as if the kindness might break her.

The last detail

Joan Chen’s directorial debut was filmed in Tibet without the Chinese government’s permission; she had to smuggle the undeveloped film out. The movie is banned in China.

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