Film Review: “Spilled Water” (China)
by Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by “Spilled Water” Film)
The film “Spilled Water” reaches into the depths of China, focusing on the roles, rights and social status of Chinese women.
In a country ruled by men, Chinese women held no status for a long time.
“Spilled Water”, Tchao’s name for her documentary, was the Chinese expression used to describe daughters “Once married, they are spilled water, a totally worthless commodity.”
The Cultural Revolution loosened some restraints on women who are fighting for their own identity, to make decisions and control their lives.
Twenty years ago in Beijing, the UN Commission declared, “Women’s rights are human rights.” Ironically, that message was CENSORED in China before it ever reached the country’s 600 million women.
May May Tchao, “Spilled Water” Director, was born in China, raised in Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States where she attended college, married and had two children.
When Tchao returned to China for her documentary, she choose to feature four Chinese women involved in different lifestyles. This significant study observes the lives of these women as we see their homes and interaction with their families.
Li Hua had a career as an attorney partner at a law firm in Beijing, a surprise to see her status equal to the men.
The pretty peasant girl, Ou Huaqing worked in the fields, yet she was graced with a vibrant voice and traveled to Beijing to appear in Dongzu Music events. She lived in two worlds, one where she could make money, show her talent and the other harder life as a peasant working in the fields.
Tchao really became involved in opening the door to their lives. During the interview with 0u’s husband, you could tell he didn’t like her singing and would prefer that she stay home with him and their child.
Each woman had a story, we see Liu Ying, assembling fuse boxes which control and operate big machines. She only attended middle school never thinking about becoming an electrician but the manager allowed her to learn without having any mechanical background. This was usually a man’s job.
Life seems better for women today yet attitudes still have to change.
This documentary took four years to produce and was from Women’s Voices Now, for information,
call (310)-748-1929. email@example.com
In 2009, May May Tchao dove into documentary filmmaking, developing film concepts that document China’s dramatic economic and cultural shifts as a way to give voice to Chinese women. She honed in her craft by collaborating with top talents to explore compelling bi-cultural subjects interesting to a wide audience. She consults with filmmakers at Kartemquin Films and works with top China crew for research and production.
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