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May Dragon is a 2018 pseudo Chinese American biographical drama film written by Luo Yan and Yin Lichua, produced by George Clooney and directed by Ning Ying.

The film stars Fan Bingbing, Gong Li, Donnie Yen, Liu Yifei, Yang Mi, Jiang Wen, Liu Ye, Zhou Xun and Zhao Wei.

It is based partly on Zue Xinran's 2002 book The Good Women Of China and whilst it keeps the central themes of Xinran's powerful 2002 piece published in Britain that drew on the experiences of women living in China during various periods of time.

The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing $32 million at the worldwide box office against its' $9 million budget, the film was awarded with Academy and Golden Globes For Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Supporting Actress: Li.

Oscar Nominations were also awarded to Best Director and Best Actress: Bingbing.

The film is tentatively set between present day Beijing, China and 1920's China.

The film premiered all foreign film festivals and Sundance selection before receiving a theatrical release on May 12th, 2018.

Plot

Zhi Mao is dealing with the self defence killing of her abusive ex boyfriend Zhang. She awaits trial whilst under house arrest at her old apartment building in central Beijing. She becomes wrought with paranoia, suicidal thoughts and struggles to deal with her infuriated, overbearing mother, absent father and the invasion of two female tenants that pass through her apartment, one a thieving lesbian prostitute and the other a rich governor's daughter constantly pressing for help.

Zhi comes across a stashed book after a nervous breakdown and breaking her shower bathroom wall. The book is the memoirs of Mo Hueng who chronicled her life in the decade of 1920's Beijing, the end of which lived out in her apartment.

The viewer is then show from 1920 to 1929 as Mo struggles being trafficked around kitchen work until a near incident with attacking the rapist of her friend in a soup kitchen.

Her friend is executed and she is sentenced to death by torturous labour in the rice fields of Yunhe County where she and several other women are subjected to extreme abuse, including Bamboo splints inserted under the fingernails, lashings and a male worker San (who befriends Mo and sneaks her provisions as she reminds him of his deceased sister) is subjected to the ancient torturous execution of a thousand cuts as an example.

Mo is able to orchestrate an escape as she develops ischaemic heart disease along with various other women, the remaining are gunned and killed.

Pregnant packer Wei, young Chin, boy dressing Isa and mother Yai who loses her daughter Shi in the shooting.

They harbour with Mo's former manager who is blind Marte at his old apartment floor in the poorest province of Central Beijing.

The rest of the story plays between juxtaposition as Zhi in present day makes an apologetic call to her mother and establishes proper contact with her formerly pestering neigbors.

Prostitute Lel refuses her help when confronted about her struggles with her sexuality, family and lifestyle and rich stowaway Jal is aided in her apartment with a confrontation with her family, who cut ties with her.

Cast

  • Fan Bingbing as Zhi Mao
  • Gong Li as Mo Hueng
  • Anthony rogers as zhi's boyfriend
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