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Half The Sky
The Women Of The Jiang Family

Changes in the lives of four generations of Chinese women.

A printer-friendly version of this page 50 minutes
Directed by Sun Shuyun
Produced by China Global Graphics, Ltd.
October Films Production with TVE

No women in any country have seen their lives change so radically as have Chinese women. "Women are 'half the sky,'" declared Mao Zedong, "and they are absolutely the equal of men."

Equal they may have been, but by regimentation, to the point of the virtual abolition of womanhood and femininity. Today economic reforms have given young women a degree of independence unknown to any previous generation. For the first time they are conscious and outspoken about their role and position in society, and they make their demands known.

This film explores these changes within the lives of four generations of women in the Jiang family over the last 50 years in China, from the grandmother who was bought by the Jiang family at age 14 to be grandfather's second wife, to her 24-year-old great-granddaughter who works as a sales assistant at the Pierre Cardin boutique in Beijing.

Built around a series of interviews, images of daily life, special family occasions and archival film, HALF THE SKY focuses on the women's individual experiences of marriage, children, work, love, and self-esteem.

Grade Level: 10-12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 1996     Copyright Date: 1995
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-609-8     VHS ISBN: 1-56029-658-5

"The times they are, indeed, a-changing, as this beautifully shot impressionistic overview of several generations of women in the Jiang family shows...HALF THE SKY ranges far and wide over the social upheavals which women have faced and weathered in recent Chinese history. Recommended."
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Half The Sky

"Ranges far and wide over the social upheavals in recent Chinese history. Recommended." Video Librarian

Links (The producer's web site)

Awards and Festivals
Best Independent Program, Rencontres Media Nord/Sud, Geneva
Bronze Apple, National Educational Media Competition
Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting

Asian Studies
Developing World
Women's Studies

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Not The Numbers Game (BBC Version)
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The Motherhood Manifesto
Looks at the obstacles facing working mothers and families and the employer and public policy changes needed to restore work-life balance.

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