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Xiaolu Guo

2011 || Germany || Color || Feature


Toronto 2011


Simple woman Kwok Yun leads a peasant's life in the peaceful mountains around remote Three-Headed Bird Village. She lives with her grandfather and works as a laborer. She has no dreams of a different life, no great plans for the future.

One day, after a countryside tryst with a married man, Kwok Yun sees a UFO - a giant glowing thing in the shape of a dumpling! Later that same day, she also helps a snake-bitten American businessman, who disappears as mysteriously as the UFO.

The ambitious village leader Chief Chang uses Kwok Yun's unexpected events for political gain. She stimulates tourism with UFO tours and gets the local economy roaring with progress. Busy aspiring to strengthen relations with the USA, she is blind to the dangers such radical change can bring, especially to the environment.

Kwok Yun is also transformed into the shining example of a "model peasant." She is promoted and groomed for a bright new future by pushy Chief Chang. But Kwok Yun's heart is whispering that she's destined for something more than the government's power-hungry plans...

From the award-winning writer-director of SHE, A CHINESE and ONCE UPON A TIME A PROLETARIAN.


Shi Ke
Udo Kier


An exquisite adaptation of her own novel, London-based Chinese director Guo’s film is a triumph of visual style. Few artists are as accomplished with both word and image. Michal Tywoniuk’s graceful cinematography (colour and black and white) is at the service of her dark satire with twin targets: the rigidity of a now anachronistic Communist ideology and the new capitalism that has thrown the system into a free-form chaos, with as little regard for individual rights as Maoism... Mocky’s music is an enticing blend of traditional Chinese folk music and modern abstract compositions... the humour that accompanies Guo’s sharp scrutiny and aesthetic panache could make it more palatable for a larger arthouse market accustomed to straightforward, sober Chinese films... Guo has fun with her critique of the rapid transformation of Chinese society...