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The Story of Qiu Ju - Essay Example

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The Story of Qiu Ju is a film directed by Zhang Yimou based on the novel The Wan Family's Lawsuit. The screenplay was written by Chen Yuan Bin, and it stars Chinese superstar Gong Li as the title character Wan Qiu Ju.
The story opens with the pregnant Qiu Ju, the wife of a chili farmer from Xigouzi, who brings her husband Qinglai, with the help of her sister-in-law Meizi, to a doctor to be treated for bruises and the swelling of his left testicle…
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Download file to see previous pages In reaction, the chief beat Qinglai up and kicked him in the groin, thus causing the injuries.
At first, Qiu Ju seeks an apology from the village chief for beating up her husband, reasoning that the act was not right. The chief refuses to give an apology because he believes that if he does, he will lose face. Qiu Ju, adamant that justice should be given to her husband, brings her case to their village public service bureau or PBS. The village PBS orders the chief to pay Qinlang 200 yuan to reimburse the medical expenses as well as wages lost to Qinlang while he is recovering from his injuries. The chief shells out the money as ordered, but he refuses to make the apologies Qiu Ju requires.
Qiu Ju becomes unhappy by the chief's refusal and brings the case to the district PBS. The district PBS issues the same decision, but the chief, while willing to pay the money, remains adamant about not giving the apology. Qiu Ju then brings the matter to the city PBS, then sues the village chief but loses the case. Still unfazed, Qiu Ju afterwards makes an appeal to the intermediary bureau. In the meantime, beset by the gossip being whispered in their community, Qinlang himself asks Qiu Ju to stop pursuing the matter and to just let it go.
While awaiting the result of the trial, Qiu Ju goes into labor and her condition becomes delicate. She receives assistance from the village chief himself in bringing her to the hospital, and this somehow heals the rift between herself and the chief. However, at the celebration of her newborn son's turning a month old, the chief is arrested by the police, and Qiu Ju fails to stop them.
Basically, the film talks about the roundabout pursuit of justice in Maoist China. It is set in rural China, probably during the late 1970s or early 1980s, as hinted by the references to the one-child policy instituted in that country in 1979 (Wikipedia, 2002b). Actual locations were used in filming the movie, and these locations depict mostly the poverty and squalor Chinese citizens, especially in the countryside, were subjected to during that time. The fact that the story is also set in the winter season only emphasizes how difficult living conditions were then.
China at that time was still reeling from the effects of the Cultural Revolution (Wikipedia, 2002a). Economy is beginning to recover, at least from the viewpoint of the city folk, where buildings are well-planned and the roadways are paved. Such is not the same in the countryside, however, and it is grueling to watch Qiu Ju travel on foot, by cart and by hitchhiking down the long and winding dirt roads with her swollen belly and with only her sister-in-law for a companion. These journeys to and from her village took a toll on her, eventually making her pregnancy and childbirth complicated and nearly costing Qiu Ju her life. These inaccessible roads, however, did not seem to hinder officials from the public service bureau from coming to Qiu Ju's village to investigate her case. Entire families comprising of parents, grandparents and children live in two-room houses along with their pets, and perhaps livestock, bringing into question issues on health and hygiene. People from the countryside are distinguishable by their clothes: as depicted in the movie, they only ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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