Something very interesting about The Rice Paddy (La Rizière), a French/Chinese co-production, was the odd feeling that I was a fly that, without people noticing, was observing their lives in a small country village in the south of China. I got there one day and left one year after. So the that I witnessed had no beginning and no end.
The focus of this observing is A Qiu, a young girl that wants a better education and a life beyond the Dong rice fields - the movie is spoken entirely in Dong, not Mandarin Chinese, giving an even bigger sense of isolation. Far from any modern aspect of life, she lives her tough routine with a gentle smile on her face. We feel like in another time entirely, and it is surreal, so beautiful. But it is also a hard life.
Qiu is not a rebel, but she wants another life, a different one. Her dream is to be a writer, and for that reason maybe she is the narrator of her story, telling about her life with her grandparents, parents, brother and friend. Through her perception of things, we can see the conflicts of staying in the native countryside or to look for a job in the city by the choices of Qiu's parents - always through her eyes and quiet narrative. And she does a beautiful job. It is also beautiful when she describes how she feels while writing: like her hands had a life of its own.
And so I was fortunate to know her tale for a short amount of time, and I have no idea of anything more than what she told me. That is a difficult aspect about the movie. The lesson here is that life is hard, the next day is uncertain, we have to work hard in order to achieve what we envision for us, but usually the most important things are not just under our control. There are too many unexpected events in life, that becomes a game of getting over it and keeping ahead. In short, there is sadness, hard work, hope and achievements and loss all around. It is only a matter to know how to deal with it with a truly faithful heart.
|The Rice Paddy (La Rizière). Directed by Xiaoling Zhu. With: Xiang|
Chuifen, Shi Guangjin, Wu Shenming. Writers: Simon Pradinas, Xiaoling
Zhu. France/China, 2010, DTS, Color (Cinema).