Synopsis by Michael Betzold
Director Yim Ho followed up The Day the Sun Turned Cold with this film, produced by its lead actress Zhang Yu. One of a series of epic tales told by the Fifth Generation Chinese filmmakers of the 1990s, The Sun Has Ears or Taiyang You Er is the story of a northern Chinese peasant wife in the 1920s whose personal life is played out against a background of sweeping political change. You You (Zhang Yu) and her debt-ridden peasant husband Tian You must search the barren fields for food during a widespread depression, eating bark and battling mice for seeds. They meet up with an unscrupulous bandit leader, Pan Hao, a warlord who has become a lieutenant in the Nationalist Army. Pan Hao lusts after You You, but she resists. Her husband, however, wants to trade his wife for political capital, so he "loans" her to Pan Hao for ten days. During this time, You You is surprised to discover that the bandit leader, though abusive, arouses new sexual and emotional feelings in her. She prefers the powerful political leader over her inept and dull husband and accompanies Pan Hao as he is pursued by the monarchy's forces. Meanwhile, her husband has bumbled his way into a leadership position in a rival band of military strongmen. Inevitably, the two men meet in battle.
survivor, woman, dysfunctional, husband, outlaw [Western], poverty, prostitute/prostitution, sex, sexual-awakening