The Story of Qiu Ju (Qiu Ju da guan si)

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Reviews Counted: 22

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Average Rating: 3.9/5

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Movie Info

Chinese actress Gong Li is heartbreakingly brilliant as farm woman Qui Ju. When her husband is kicked and beaten without provocation by the arrogant village leader, Qui Ju wants an apology and explanation. When none are forthcoming, she takes her case to the national government, where she becomes mummified in bureaucratic red tape. As Qui Ju goes from individual to statistic, her story becomes everybody's story, and the viewer will be hard put not to empathize with the poor woman's plight. Story of Qui Ju was another triumphant collaboration for Chinese director Zhang Yimou and his favorite actress Gong Li (they had previously worked together on such films as the international favorite Raise the Red Lantern). While the film was heavily censored in its native China, Qui Ju was released intact to the rest of the world, to universal acclaim.

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Critic Reviews for The Story of Qiu Ju (Qiu Ju da guan si)

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (7)

  • This simple, repetetive tale has a mesmerizing quality able to hook audiences from beginning to end.

    Mar 26, 2009

    Deborah Young

    Top Critic
  • The plot seems expressly designed to placate the bureaucrats who banned Zhang's two previous films in China, but the quasi-documentary approach (involving scores of non-professional actors, hidden cameras and radio mikes) is brilliantly finessed.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • "The Story of Qui Ju" reaffirms Zhang Yimou's stature as storyteller and sociologist extraordinaire, and as a visual artist of exceptional delicacy and insight.

    May 20, 2003 | Full Review…
  • It's hardly a threat to the antics of "Naked Gun" but it's a delicately wry take on the absurdities of bureaucratic life. It upends Zhang's resume wonderfully.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • "The Story of Qiu Ju" has its bawdy pleasures, but it's far too litigious to be especially entertaining, and is at its best in its documentary mode.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • This is the first film I have seen from China that has at once such documentary verisimilitude, such comic inventiveness, and such reflective strength.

    Aug 14, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Story of Qiu Ju (Qiu Ju da guan si)


Brilliant story, reminded me of some of the great Russian authors who gave us a glimpse into the hearts of peasants and how close-knit the communities are (and have to be). Zhang Yimou's execution was almost perfect--from the first scene he forces the audience to piece together the events, never patronizing us. Its documentary-like shots of everyday Chinese folk combines the realism of Chekhov with the comic absurdity of Gogol. Gong Li's energy was magnetic.

Letitia Lew
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer

Another great and masterful tale from Zhang Yimou focusing on the simplicity and yet the complexity of everyday people and the challenges that they rise to.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Entirely too slow.

Nikki Meroney
Nikki Meroney

Super Reviewer

It was a really good movie. I enjoyed learning about the culture and seeing the determination of Qui Ju. She would not give up no matter what. It was inspiring.

Dannielle Albert
Dannielle Albert

Super Reviewer

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