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Wheat Harvest

Xu Tong

Release year: 2008

Run time: 98 min

Film type: Documentary


The film shows the life of Niu Hongmiao, a 20 year-old country girl who works as a prostitute in Beijing. Around harvest time, she goes back home to Dingxing County, Hebei Province, to help her parents and to care for her severely ill father. She also leaves all her savings behind. Xu Tong sketches a picture of the sex industry in Beijing, showing the loyalty and dignity of the men and women who work in it. A hidden world emerges before the camera with its own language, rituals and rules, centred on strong, self-assured women, who are, just like the subject, rare in Chinese films and documentaries.


Director biography

Xu Tong was born in 1965 in Beijing, and majored in news photography at the Communications University of China. He describes himself as a vagabond filmmaker, as his filmmaking focuses on those who live on the margins of the society, often outside the law, in northern China. He uses his camera to express sympathy and even empathy with the marginality and defiant nonconformity of many of his subjects.