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In A China Mood

If you’re ever in a China Mood and you’d like to have a cultural experience sans the $1500 airplane ticket, we recommend the following films:

xiaoyan
Based on The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl, this movie is about a 13-year-old girl living in a small village in northwest China.  She has to somehow make money during her summer vacation to afford the education fee which is ?24 ($3) for one term. She starts her difficult journey with just ten eggs. The eggs are turned into ?3, then into ?5 and so on. Does she get her little wish?

(Sorry, I’m can’t seem to find this movie either for sale or on Netflix. If you find it, please let me know! Otherwise, the book will have to do.)

road home
The Road Home (2000) A young man returns to his native village after the death of his father, the village’s schoolteacher, who died while trying to raise money for a new schoolhouse. His body is in a neighboring town; the young man’s mother insists that it be brought back on foot, lest his spirit not find his way home.

From this starting point, the young man recounts the tale of his parents’ courtship, which involved a red banner, mushroom dumplings, a colorful barrette, and a broken bowl.

This movie is simple, but very emotional. It is a beautiful expression of Chinese culture.

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