Feet Unbound at The Cathay

I am going for Feet Unbound at The Picturehouse on Sat, 19 April: 8pm with 14 heritage kakis – bought our tickets this morning. Nearly forgot with student thesis, module CAs and marks etc going on now until I received an SMS by Anand yesterday!

This film is about a minor but ill-fated component of the Long March – most of the teenage girls were slaughtered, captured, etc and tragically, later, their leader turns traitor! The film includes interviews with veterans; the production notes say the women were between 83 – 95 years old with an average age of 90. I am glad they got to tell some of their story – that made me want to watch the film.

This is the sort of unromantic part that typically gets edited out of national histories, hence the “never been told” tag. Somehow this reminds me of how the reality of the crusades differed so much from popular narratives. Enough of my kakis are better read than I am, so will validate thoughts like these during the post-movie examination that always amplifies the movie-watching experience.

Alvin in Beijing doesn’t think it will be screened in China since it takes a battle with red tape and an annual quota of only 20 foreign films (including Hollywood movies) that can be screened. He also thinks it is unlikely that any “foreign” version that contradicts national overtones are likely to be tolerated.

I just googled for one of Stefan’s excellent reviews at A Nutshell Review. I usually read only after I watch a movie, oddly enough, so will probably revisit on Saturday night.

The relevant blurb from the webpage is reproduced below. Wished they had uploaded the trailer to YouTube; it’d allow bloggers to embed – it was the clip of the spirited old women recounting their memories that decided it for me amidst my crazy schedule.

From the production notes – Feet Unbound was inspired by the books Women Of The Long March (Allen & Unwin) by Lily Xiao Hong Lee and Sue Wiles, and Choosing Revolution: Chinese Women Soldiers On The Long March (University of Illinois Press) by Helen Praeger Young.

Show times begin this Thursday at The Cathay. For tickets, see tickets.cathay.com.sg

  • 17 Apr 2008, Thu 12:40, 16:20, 20:00
  • 18 Apr 2008, Fri 12:40, 16:20, 20:00
  • 19 Apr 2008, Sat 10:50, 16:20, 20:00
  • 20 Apr 2008, Sun 10:50, 16:20, 20:00
  • 21 Apr 2008, Mon 12:40, 16:20, 20:00
  • 22 Apr 2008, Tue 12:40, 16:20, 20:00
  • 23 Apr 2008, Wed 12:20, 16:00
  • Run extended to 30 Apr 2008!

The official webpage says,

“This is the never-been-told story of the Chinese Red Army’s teenage female soldiers of The Long March – a massive military retreat of over 200,000 troops on foot over 12,500 kilometres that lasted from 1934 to 1937.

Only one per cent or 2,000 troops on the March were females. Most of them were teenagers fleeing poverty, cruelty and general discrimination against females. Some also had bound feet, a thousand-year-old tradition which was still a custom at the time.

Elly, a 28-year-old journalist from Beijing, embarks on a 5,000 kilometre odyssey that takes her from Cangxi in Central China to Xingxingxia in the Gobi Desert northwest of China. Along the way, she uncovers the tragic and chilling story of the destruction of the Western Route Army – the greatest military failure of the Chinese Red Army. This episode of Long March history is largely unknown outside of China.

As she sets out in search of history, she is forced to confront her identity as a modern Chinese woman.”

Indie Singapore film

Directed by Ng Khee Jin, FEET UNBOUND, the feature-length documentary about the unknown story of China’s Long March will open at Cathay’s The Picturehouse in Singapore on Thursday 17 April for a limited season.

It is an all-Singaporean independent effort featuring music performed by the T’ang Quartet. Shot in remote locations across China, including the Chinese Himalayas, the Gobi Desert, and the highland marshes of western Sichuan, the film takes you on a 5,000 km journey in search of history and identity. It is a virtually unknown story that needs to be told.


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