The Herdsman (1982)

Genres - Drama  |   Run Time - 90 min.  |   Countries - China  |  
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When Xu Jingyou (Liu Qiong) an American businessman goes to China in 1980, he wants to bring his son Lingjun (Zhu Shimao) back to the U.S. so he can have an easier life. They have been separated for 30 years, ever since the communists took over and the father fled the country. But Lingjun is ill-at-ease with his father, and one night Lingjun tells him how his life has been. First, he was accused of being a rightist in 1957 because of his father's desertion to the U.S. and was sent to the northwest grasslands to be re-educated. The native people were kind, generous, loving, and open -- and Lingjun began to be more human and caring as a result. When a young woman, 15 years younger than Lingjun, arrives from Sichuan to join the community, her shyness and good heart win his affections and the two eventually marry and have only one child, a son. In 1979, the accusations against Lingjun are dropped but he loves the people of the northwest so much that he could never leave them. Moved, his father vows to come back and be buried in the Motherland, saying that although he is rich, unlike his son, he is poor in affection. Poverty, forced marriages, forced birth control, the forced sterilization of Tibetan women, and the practice of giving away a physically handicapped newborn to adoption centers because each family should have only one child -- none of these issues are addressed in this propagandistic look at idyllic rural China.

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Keywords

China, father, future, life-choices, offer, promise