Blush (film)

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Directed by Li Shaohong
Produced by Chen Kunming
Yi Liu
Jimmy Tan
Written by Ni Zhen
Su Tong
Starring Wang Ji
He Saifei
Wang Zhiwen
Music by Guo Wenjing
Cinematography Zeng Nianping
Edited by Zhou Xinxia
Beijing Film Studio
Distributed by United States:
First Run Features
Release dates
  • September 8, 1995 (1995-09-08) (Toronto)
Running time
115 minutes
Country China
Language Mandarin

Blush (simplified Chinese: 红粉; traditional Chinese: 紅粉; pinyin: Hong fen) is a 1995 Chinese film about the experience of two women during the People's Republic of China's campaign to re-educate prostitutes. Blush was directed by Li Shaohong and stars He Saifei, Wang Ji, and Wang Zhiwen. The film was a co-production between Hong Kong's Ocean Film and Beijing Film Studio.[1] The film is based on the eponymous novel by the writer Su Tong.[2]

Blush won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Single Achievement at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival in 1995.[3]


Blush takes place in the 1950s during a campaign by the new Communist government in China designed to "re-educate" prostitutes to become contributing members of society. Two such prostitutes, Xiao'e (He Saifei) and Qiuyi (Wang Ji), have recently been sent to a re-education camp by the People's Liberation Army. Rebelling against her new life of uniforms and forced re-education, Qiuyi escapes and becomes a kept woman for Laopu (Wang Zhiwen) When Qiuyi becomes pregnant, she seeks refuge in a Buddhist temple but is cast out when the nuns discover her pregnancy - soon after, the baby miscarries.

Left in the training camp, Xiao'e undergoes her ideological re-education and emerges from her ordeal as a factory worker. Detesting physical labor, she goes on to marry Laopu and has a child with him, forcing him to steal money from work. When Laopu is caught, he is sentenced to death, and Xiao'e abandons him and her child to remarry. As the film ends, Xiao'E's child is adopted by Qiuyi, who had gone on to marry a simple old teahouse owner.


Blush was well received by most critics in the West, with Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader calling it the "most emotionally complex picture I've seen from mainland China about the effect of the communist revolution on the lives of ordinary people."[4]


  1. ^ Zhang, Yingjin & Xiao, Zhiwei (1998). "The Fifth Generation" in Encyclopedia of Chinese Film. Taylor & Francis, p. 98-99. ISBN 0-415-15168-6.
  2. ^ Davis, Edward L. (1 January 2009). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 790. ISBN 978-0-415-77716-2. 
  3. ^ "Home > Archive > Annual Archives > 1995 > Prize Winners". Berlinale. 1995. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  4. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathon (1997). "How to Read the Revolution". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 

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