Hibiscus Town

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Hibiscus Town
Traditional 芙蓉鎮
Simplified 芙蓉镇
Mandarin Fú róng zhèn
Directed by Xie Jin
Written by Ah Cheng
Xie Jin
Based on Hibiscus Town 
by Gu Hua
Starring Jiang Wen
Liu Xiaoqing
Music by Ge Yan
Cinematography Lu Junfu
Release dates
  • 1986 (1986)
Running time 164 minutes
Country China
Language Mandarin

Hibiscus Town (simplified Chinese: 芙蓉镇; traditional Chinese: 芙蓉鎮; pinyin: Fú róng zhèn) is a 1986 Chinese film directed by Xie Jin, based on a novel by the same name written by Gu Hua. The film, a melodrama, follows the life and travails of a young woman who lives through the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution and as such is an example of the "scar drama" genre that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s that detailed life during that period. The film was produced by the Shanghai Film Studio.



The film follows Hu Yuyin (Liu Xiaoqing), a young woman in a small Chinese town on the eve of the Cultural Revolution is happily married and runs a successful roadside food stall selling spicy beancurd. Yuyin is supported by Party members Li Mangeng, who once wanted to marry her, and Director Gu, a war veteran in charge of the granary. But in 1964 the Four Cleanups Movement sends a Party work-team to root out Rightists and capitalist roaders. The team is led by Li Guoxiang,a single woman, and helped by Wang Qiushi, a former poor peasant who has lost his land because of his drinking. At a public struggle session, Yuyin is declared to be a "new rich peasant." Both her home and business are taken from her and her husband, Li Guigui (Liu Linian) commits suicide in despair.

After the first waves of the Revolution have ended, Yuyin returns to the town, now relegated to a lowly street sweeper. She then falls in love with Qin Shutian (Jiang Wen), who had come in the 1950s to collect local folksongs but was declared to be one of the Five Black Categories. When Yuyin becomes pregnant, however, this loving relationship attracts the outrage of Li Guoxiang and Wang Qiushe, who themselves are having a secret affair. Shutian is sent to reform through labor and it is not until Deng Xiaoping's reforms in 1978 that his case is reviewed and he is allowed to return and help Yuyin re-establish their street restaurant.




Further reading[edit]

  • Browne, Nick. "Society and Subjectivity: On the Political Economy of Chinese Melodrama," in New Chinese Cinemas: Forms, Identities, Politics. Cambridge: CUP, 1994, 57-87.
  • Hayford, Charles W. "Hibiscus Town: Revolution, Love and Bean Curd." In Chris Berry, ed., Chinese Films in Focus: 25 New Takes. London: BFI Publishing, 2003, 120-27.
  • Kipnis, Andrew. "Anti-Maoist Gender: Hibiscus Town's Naturalization of a Dengist Sex/Gender/Kinship System." Asian Cinema 8, 2 (Winter 1996-97): 66-75.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marion, Donald J. (1997). The Chinese Filmography. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. pp. 265–266. ISBN 0786403055. 

External links[edit]