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This film was co-directed by French director Benoit Lelievre and Chinese director Jin Huaqing. The filming team went deep into the international city Yiwu in southeastern China and recorded the daily lives of four Xinjiang women from a delicate perspective. Under the objective and calm lens, the characters present a simple and true appearance, they could represent the truest voice from Xinjiang. The film was shot during the event that some countries boycott the cotton from China's Xinjiang. The occurrence of the incident had a huge impact on China, so that the lives of the four protagonists who were far from home also caused ripples. In the face of this incident, the four women expressed their incomprehension and even dissatisfaction to their families and foreign friends.

 


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RIPPLES: Chinese Whispers




A gentle but gorgeously photographed short documentary, QUIETLY seems to offer some correctives to current tales of social or humanitarian injustices within the vast lands of China. A handful of artlessly handled interviews with hard-working women from the distant province of Xinjiang  reveal a country  where the traditional and contemporary ways of life seem to blend smoothly, even successfully.

A dutiful daughter is packing cotton for despatch, picked in the enormous fields of her native area, which provides 80% of cotton crops in China, while China remains the world's leading source of the natural product.

But there are new tariffs being imposed that will restrict their sales.

A middle-aged widow has come to the huge city of Yiwu, also hailing from Xinjiang, and in seven years has not only raised three children after the death of her husband, but runs a popular modest restaurant. (Alluring foods, and fabulous-looking meals stud the half-hour narrative of this documentary short, whether cooked in the home or enjoyed in restaurant feasts).

Another lady from Xinjiang has married an Afghan who runs a shipping company. One of the women is also a flourishing online coach, who recalls how when much younger in Beijing she was asked if children still went to school on a camel in her homeland. Another insists the Uyghurs can follow their own lives and  Muslim women have more or less equal status now with men.

The film has been capably directed by a French film-maker, Benoit Lelievre, deftly inserting some picturesque glimpses of landscape, music and dance, that pleasingly contrast with  the startling modern metropolises of this far-flung outpost of Cathay.

 

27 minutes, English sub-titles

 

Phillip Bergson

 

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