South of the Clouds

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For the province in China whose literal translation is "South of the Clouds", see Yunnan. For the 2014 film, see South of the Clouds (2014 film).
South of the Clouds
Traditional 雲的南方
Simplified 云的南方
Mandarin Yún de nán fāng
Directed by Zhu Wen
Produced by Geng Ling
Han Sanping
Written by Zhu Wen
Starring Jin Zi
Li Xuejian
Liu Changsheng
Tian Zhuangzhuang
Music by Zuoxiao Zuzhou
Cinematography Wang Min
Edited by Kong Jinlei
Distributed by China Film Assist
Release date
  • February 10, 2004 (2004-02-10) (Berlin International Film Festival)
Running time
100 minutes
Language Mandarin

South of the Clouds is a 2004 Chinese film and the second film directed by the writer Zhu Wen. The film stands in stark contrast to Zhu's previous film. In terms of production, South of the Clouds received the cooperation of the state apparatus unlike 2001's Seafood which was an underground production shot on digital hand-held cameras. In terms of story, the transgressive tale of a prostitute and a policeman in Seafood is a far cry from South of the Cloud's gentle tale of a retiree who fulfills a lifelong desire to travel to the southern province of Yunnan (literally "South of the Clouds").

South of the Clouds stars Li Xuejian as the protagonist, Xu Daqin, and features a cameo by director Tian Zhuangzhuang as the police chief in a small town in Yunnan. It was produced by China Film Assist, an independent production company in China; South of the Clouds was the company's first production.[1]


South of the Clouds was, at heart, an attempt by Zhu Wen to capture the image and beauty of Yunnan that he had experienced upon his first visit to the province.[1] Beyond that, however, the film was an opportunity for Zhu to present his work to his home country. Following the completion of Seafood, Zhu "wanted to make something that [he] could show to [his] parents and...friends in China.[1] Unlike Seafood, South of the Clouds did not encounter any issues with the state censors, in part because the film strictly followed all the relevant regulations.[1]

Awards and nominations[edit]

South of the Clouds like many Chinese art films was screened at numerous film festivals around the world. It succeeded in winning a FIPRESCI prize and the Firebird Award for New Cinema at the 28th Hong Kong International Film Festival.[2] The film also won a NETPAC award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2004.[3]

See also[edit]

  • Mosuo - a matriarchal ethnic enclave in Yunnan, featured prominently in the film.


  1. ^ a b c d Lee, Kevin (September 2004). "From Sea to Sky: An Interview with Zhu Wen". Senses of Cinema. Archived from the original on 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  2. ^ "FIPRESCI-Festival Reports-Hong Kong 04 - South of the Clouds". FIPRESCI. 2004. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 
  3. ^ Nguyen, Chau (2004-02-20). "Feb. 20, 2004: News from Abroad". Asia Pacific Arts. Retrieved 2008-10-15. 

External links[edit]