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Please join the USC East Asian Studies Center, USC U.S.-China Institute and the USC School of Cinematic Arts for a screening of the 1993 Chinese film Woman Sesame Oil Maker (香魂女). The film tells the story of a woman in a small village who buys a peasant wife for her mentally disabled son after her sesame oil business becomes unexpectedly successful. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director, Xie Fei (谢飞). 

Moderator: Jason E. Squire, Professor of Cinema Practice, USC School of Cinematic Arts 
Discussant: Stanley RosenProfessor of Political Science, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences


About the Film

Xiang is hard-working, running a small sesame oil business. Her husband is lazy and a drunk; her son is mentally handicapped. When Japanese investors provide capital to expand Xiang's business, she has the wealth to raise her social standing and buy a wife for her son, Dunzi. When money and a forceful personality fail to bend others to her will, including daughter-in-law Huanhuan, Xiang must find another way to tranquillity.

About the Director 

Xie Fei was born in Yan'an in 1937 and graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in the 1960s. Xie has directed nine films during his long career, all of which have been showered with acclaim, both at home and from abroad. His movie Black Snow won the Silver Bear Award for personal achievement at the Berlin Film Festival in 1989, where he later won the Golden Bear Award for Woman Sesame Oil Maker in 1992. Three years later his touching movie A Mongolian Tale won Best Director at the Montreal Film Festival. Most of Xie's films have been adapted from famous Chinese novels, helping to offer a deeper insight into Chinese history and culture. The movies focus on the lives of ordinary people who struggle in vain to come to terms with the limitations imposed by the society they live in. Xie was a visiting scholar at USC 1988-1989.


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