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The Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1970s -- in which urban intellectuals were relocated either by choice or through force to rural areas in the interest of educating the poor or aiding farm labor -- provides the backdrop for this romantic drama from filmmaker Lu Yue. Ye Xingyu (Shu Qi) is an idealistic young woman who lives in the Yunnan province, where she teaches language classes and is pledged to marry Yuan Dingguo (Fang Bin), who works on a rubber plantation. Xingyu's father is seriously ill, and she wants to move to Kunming to be with him, but getting permission from local and federal authorities proves all but impossible. One day, Xingyu meets Liu Simeng (Liu Hua), who has moved from Beijing to Yunnan to work in an educational program. While Xingyu is initially put off by Simeng's big-city ways, she comes to admire his sincere dedication to duty, and he is clearly infatuated with her. But a scuffle between locals and Simeng's fellow transplants from Beijing leads to a simmering rivalry, which comes to a boil when Dingguo becomes fiercely jealous of Xingyu's blossoming friendship with Simeng. Meiren Cao was written for the screen in part by Shi Xiaoke, whose novel Chulian provided the basis for the story. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


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