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The Story of Qiu Ju

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Product Details

  • Actors: Li Gong, Peiqi Liu, Liuchun Yang, Kesheng Lei, Zhijun Ge
  • Directors: Yimou Zhang
  • Writers: Heng Liu, Yuan Bin Chen
  • Producers: Fung Kwok Ma, Yiting Feng
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: Chinese
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000EAT23M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,299 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Story of Qiu Ju" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A humorous fable of justice that traverses shot in the north of China. Gong Li plays Qiu Ju, a tenacious farmer determined to right a wrong done to her husband. Defying all stereotypes of the passiveChinese woman, she remains unbowed by the frustrations of bureaucracy in her quixotic search for dignity.

The kick is never shown, but the entire film is based around it. It's winter in the remote Shaanxi province. Pregnant Qiu Ju (Gong Li, 2046) is married to laidback farmer Qinglai (Liu Pei Qi). When village chief Wang (Lei Lao Sheng) kicks him during an argument, she sets out to ensure that her husband receives medical attention--and justice. Clad in a bulky jacket, face partially obscured by a thick scarf, the strong-willed woman, joined by sister-in-law Meizi (Yang Liu Chun), travels far and wide to find someone who can coerce Wang to apologize (she asked, he refused). All agree the chief was in the wrong, but each authority with whom she meets hands her off to another. Along the way, the couple is offered financial compensation (for medical care and lost wages), but an apology is as elusive as a dragonfly in December. Taking cues from both Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) and Vittorio De Sica (Bicycle Thieves), Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers) presents modern-day China as a country where bureaucrats run the show and the citizens--especially the women--must suffer the consequences. Fortunately, some are more persistent than others, and The Story of Qiu Ju is far from tragic. Just as their fifth pairing represents one of Yimou's rare contemporary efforts, the dressed-down title character is also an anomaly for Li, his real-life love at the time. The risk paid off and the result is one of their most cherished collaborations. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

Qiu Ju is an excellent film.
A very simple linear story of a stubborn Chinese peasant woman who seeks justice for her husband, who was unjustly beaten by the village chief.
Amazon Customer
The film is full of good people, bad people and a lot of people in-between.
James Gebhardt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 5, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This is a story about saving face and winning face, and what can happen if you carry things too far. Gong Li stars as Qiu Ju, a peasant woman with child whose husband is kicked in the groin by the local chief. She wants an apology. The chief of course will not apologize since he would then lose face. Both are stubborn and obstinate. Proud and determined, Qiu Ju steers her way through the bureaucracy from the village to the district to the city; but the thing she desires, an apology from the chief, eludes her. He cannot apologize because he has only sired daughters. He has license (he believes in his heart) because he was insulted by her husband who said he raised "only hens."

The Chinese locales, from village roads to big city avenues are presented with stunning clarity so that the color and the sense of life is vivid and compelling. Director Zhang Yimou. forces us to see. From the opening shot of the mass of people in the city walking toward us (out of which emerges Qiu Ju) to the feast celebrating the child's first month of life near the end, we feel the humanity of the great mass of the Chinese people.

In a sense this is a gentle satire of the bureaucratic state that modern China has become. But Zhang Yimou emphasizes the bounty of China and not its poverty. There is a sense of abundance with the corn drying in the eaves, the sheets of dough being cut into noodles, the fat cows on the roads and the bright red chili drying in the sun. There is snow on the ground and the roads are unpaved, but there is an idyllic feeling of warmth emanating from the people. One gets the idea that fairness and tolerance will prevail.

In another sense, this is a parable about the price of things and how that differs from what is really of value.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By James Gebhardt on September 25, 2006
Format: DVD
I have to be honest. When I read the Amazon mini-review of this film, I was doubtful as to whether or not this would be my type of film. I'm not even sure why but I just had a feeling. Well, all of my fears quickly dissipated within the first fifteen minutes or so. I quickly became engrossed in this wry little comedy-drama import. Lurking within the guise of a simple drama is a carefully sculpted story of one woman's single-minded mission to acquire satisfaction and justice on behalf of her injured husband.

Let me give you a little background first. The film opens with a very pregnant Qiu Ju (played by the brilliant Gong Li) pulling some sort of wagon into town. As it turns out, Qiu Ju (with the help of her sister-in-law, Meizi) is transporting her injured husband, Qinglai to the local doctor for emergency treatment. It is eventually revealed that the husband has suffered an embarrassing injury to his "oh so private area" as a result of an argument culminating in an well-placed kick from the village chieftain. Conflict immediately arises from the fact that she sees her husband as being injured, not only physically but, emotionally and spiritually as well. Her laid-back husband, on the other hand, is not as wounded as Qiu Ju would care to believe. He's happier to just move on and let bygones be bygones. This is unsatisfactory for wife, Qiu Ju who proceeds to set into motion an almost comedic series of events ultimately leading to a conclusion that she never anticipated. On its most basic level, this film is a modern day parable that explores the gray area between seeking justice and exacting revenge. It is a cautionary tale as well since it shows that justice is not an absolute.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Rand Higbee on February 22, 2004
Format: DVD
Zhang Yimou's "The Story of Qiu Ju" is not a masterpiece as is his film "Raise the Red Lantern." It doesn't have the epic qualities of "To Live" nor is it as visually stunning as "The Road Home." But "Qiu Ju" may well be Yimou's most thought provoking film, leaving you pondering the messages a long time after the film has ended.
Qiu Ju's husband has been kicked ("where it counts") by the village chief. The only bit of justice Qiu Ju wants is an apology. It seems to be a simple enough request, but her search for the apology proves to be elusive as she encounters a legal system more interested in its own red tape than in the needs of ordinary people.
But this is not "Erin Brockovich" where the sides of "good" and "bad" are easily defined. The people in the legal system Qiu Ju encounters are genuinely decent folks. They are also, unfortunately, a bit clueless. And Qiu Ju is not beyond reproach herself. At the conclusion of the film even she is realizing that she has pushed the matter too far.
Just how far should one go to seek justice in this world? Even if you are totally in the right, does there come a time when you must let the matter rest for your own sake as well as everybody else's? There are no easy answers.
This is another great performance by Gong Li in the title role. She may be one of the most beautiful women in the world, but here she is not above playing "dowdy." And as usual, Zhang Yimou is nearly flawless in his direction. He gives a wonderful tip of the hat to the late French director Francois Truffaut in the end, echoing that famous final shot of Truffaut's "The 400 Blows."
But this is a film that will stick with you well past that last shot.
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