September (1984 film)

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Traditional 九月
Simplified 九月
Mandarin Jiǔ yuè
Directed by Tian Zhuangzhuang
Written by Yan Tingting
Starring Jiang Yunhui
Wang Mingzhi
Cinematography Hou Yong
Kunming Film Studio
Release date
  • 1984 (1984)
Language Mandarin

September is a 1984 Chinese film directed by the fifth generation filmmaker Tian Zhuangzhuang. Though not his first film as director, September is considered Tian's first major feature.[1] The film is also known by the title In September.

The film tells the story about a young teacher in the first seventeen years of the People's Republic of China who approaches the teaching of her students with a humanistic philosophy, an approach which leads to problems with authorities.


September was based on a screenplay by the writer Yan Tingting who was contracted with the Kunming Film Studio. After seeing some of Tian's work (notably 1982's Red Elephant, which Tian had co-directed), Yan sent his screenplay to the director, who at the time was working with Ling Zifeng as an assistant director on the older man's film, The Border Town.[1]

Tian liked the story and particularly its humanistic portrayal of the years in which Tian himself had grown up, but he was immediately turned off by the film's second half, which glorified the Communist Party of China.[1] Taking on the project, Tian changed parts of Yan's screenplay, including the ending. These changes, however, were seen by the film's producers as a negative portrayal of the People's Republic's earliest years. As a result, Tian's inserted scenes were cut leading the director to feel that much of his vision was ultimately compromised.[2]

In contrast to his earlier works, September also marked Tian Zhuangzhuang's first official run-in with Chinese censors, although Chinese television had refused to air his short film, Our Corner which he co-directed while still in the Beijing Film Academy.


  1. ^ a b c "Tian Zhuangzhuang: Stealing Horses and Flying Kites" in Speaking in Images: Interviews With Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers, p. 59. ISBN 0-231-13330-8. Google Book Search. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  2. ^ Berry, p. 60.

External links[edit]

  • September on IMDb (incorrectly lists screenwriter Yan Tingting as director)
  • September at the Chinese Movie Database (incorrectly lists screenwriter Yan Tingting as director)