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Photo of the day: Huang Ji’s “Egg and Stone”

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This week’s photo theme is: Director’s Seat. Last month, well-known (male) Chinese film director Ding Taisheng made a controversial statement on Sina Weibo to the effect that “women can be great producers, but rarely directors.” (That’s a paraphrase from memory — his Weibo account, which had over 140,000 followers, has since been deleted.) In response, this week we’ll take a look behind the camera at the work of a few exemplary female filmmakers in China, past and present.

Egg and Stone, the debut film by Hunan-born director Huang Ji, was widely praised for its bold approach to depicting socially taboo topics in China upon its 2012 release. It has been described as “a deliberately constructed work of feminist symbology,” an “internal struggle over forced gender roles” (Exclaim), and an indictment of “the body shame endemic to the culture in which [Huang Ji] was raised” (Artforum).

In a conversation with US-based distributor dGenerate Films, Huang recounts the real-life experience of sexual abuse that led to the creation of her film:

Every time I go back to this village, my hometown, I feel disgusted. I hate and dislike this village. The hardest thing for me is telling about the outrage I suffered to my husband, who is also my producer and my director of photography. We had been living together for around six years and developing a good relationship, but I never told him about what happened to me. It was so hard to tell him that the film had something to do with my experience. When I found my courage and talked with him, he sympathized with me and wanted to help film this story. To me, this meant the greatest difficulty had been solved.

Read more about Egg and Stone via its official distributor, Icarus Films.

RADII China
China from all angles.

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