ARTS AND IDEAS
Female directors change Chinese film
This year, two of China’s biggest films broke from the norm. Instead of chest-thumping odes to patriotism or intricately choreographed car chase scenes, they thoughtfully explored issues familiar to millions of women.
“Hi, Mom,” the top-grossing movie in China this year, is a comedic tear-jerker that portrays the complicated bond between a mother and a daughter. With domestic ticket sales of $840 million, it made the first-time director Jia Ling, a well-known comedian, the world’s highest-grossing solo female filmmaker.
“Sister,” directed by Yin Ruoxin, offered a somber, at times angry, meditation on the constant struggle between family obligations and career ambitions. The low-budget drama brought in over $133 million. Together they stand out as a rejection of the one-dimensional female roles often seen in commercial Chinese movies, challenging what it takes to conquer what is now the world’s largest film market.
And although the ruling Communist Party has been tightening its grip on culture, sometimes shunning China’s top female filmmakers and repressing feminist themes, these breakout films from female directors may have an undeniable commercial sway.
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