Event Information
Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 7:00 PM
Two young girls and their brother struggle to improve their lives—with little to no help from their parents—in this powerful, unblinking documentary on the underclass in China, directed by one of China’s top female filmmakers. Winner, Best Documentary film, 2012 Millenium Festival.
Event Pricing
General Admission General - $12.00
General Admission Student/Senior/Disabled - $11.00

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A young girl stands stubbornly in a frozen wasteland, gazing into the dis- tance at brand-new buildings far beyond her reach: this opening shot underlines the theme of When the Bough Breaks, a persuasive, powerful documentary about a family living on the edges of Beijing. The family’s two daughters, Xia and Ling, and their son Gang form the heart of the story; they share none of the riches of the nearby capital city, but share with one another a burden too heavy for their ages: how to find funding for their education, and change their fate with little to no help from their parents.

Their dominant, unreasonable father possesses neither the will nor the ability to support their education, while their mother merely dreams of some kind of miraculous outside intervention, whether from an Auntie or the lecherous Mr. Chen. Left on their own, the kids must fight the battle themselves, led by the strong-willed Xia. Continuously confronting their parents, both Xia and Ling finally are forced to drop out of school, in order to afford to send Gang to college. Though the family remains intact after all the fights, the cuts are raw and hard and difficult to heal.

Directed by one of China’s most significant female filmmakers, Ji Dan, When the Bough Breaks is a raw, at times unblinking portrayal of the underclass of contemporary China.

—Meng Li

This screening is presented in participation with the Oakland Museum of California, and will be followed by a conversation with Hung Liu, the museum's featured artist.