Woman Sesame Oil Maker
|Woman Sesame Oil Maker|
|Directed by||Xie Fei|
|Written by||Xie Fei
|Music by||Wang Liping|
|Distributed by||Facets Multimedia (Region 1 DVD)|
|Release dates||1993 (China)
February 16, 1994 (New York City only)
|Running time||105 minutes|
Woman Sesame Oil Maker (Chinese: 香魂女; pinyin: Xiāng hún nǚ) is a 1993 Chinese film in the Mandarin language. In the English speaking world it has been released in the UK under the title Women from the Lake of Scented Souls (the more literal translation) and more recently on DVD as Woman Sesame Oil Maker. It is adapted from a novel by Zhou Daxin (周大新), "The Fragrant Oil Mill by the Lake of Scented Souls" (香魂塘畔的香油坊).
The film is adapted and directed by Xie Fei and tells the story of a woman in a small village in Hebei who runs a small sesame oil business that becomes unexpectedly successful, but who then uses her money to buy for her mentally disabled son a peasant bride.
Illiterate villager Second Sister Xiang (Siqin Gaowa) was sold as a tongyangxi (child bride) to her present husband, a man with a lame leg, when she was seven. She has an intellectually disabled son Dunzi, who suffers from epileptic fits and is now grown up, and a younger daughter Zhi'er. Through her diligence she has started a successful sesame oil mill and now becomes the richest person in her village.
A Japanese lady investor decides to invest in her business after visiting her mill. Meanwhile, Sister Xiang tries to find a bride for her son. She engineers her son's marriage with Huanhuan (Wu Yujuan), a peasant girl whose family is in dire financial straits.
One night, Dunzi nearly strangles Huanhuan to death during a fit. Huanhuan runs back home, but her mother-in-law makes sure she returns. Huanhuan witnesses her drunk father-in-law beating Sister Xiang in bed. She also chances on Sister Xiang in an adulterous affair with family friend Ren, who fathered her daughter Zhi'er.
Ren later initiates a break-up with Sister Xiang. Sister Xiang falls ill. She is heartbroken, despite her sesame oil being awarded top prize by the provincial government.
Sister Xiang gradually realizes that Huanhuan, like her, suffers as a kindred spirit. She decides to release Huanhuan by asking Huanhuan to go for a divorce. But Huanhuan states that her life is already ruined. She then breaks down.
- Elley, Derek (1993-02-26). "Xiang Hun Nu the Women from the Lake of Scented Souls". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
- Maslin, Janet (1994-02-16). "Women From the Lake of Scented Souls (1993); Review/Film; Hard Work Without Just Reward In China". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
- "Berlinale: 1993 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
- Woman Sesame Oil Maker at the Internet Movie Database
- Woman Sesame Oil Maker at allmovie
- Woman Sesame Oil Maker at Rotten Tomatoes
- Woman Sesame Oil Maker at the Chinese Movie Database
- "Xie Fei's Black Snow and Women from the Lake of Scented Souls: Men and Women getting by in post-Mao China podcast of a lecture by Dr. Julian Ward, University of Edinburgh