Suzhou River Discusses Love in China


Still of Zhou Xun.

It was a very intimate viewing session in Lathrop 207 at the International Movie Night on February 18. Hosted by Colgate International Community, this week’s movie was the Chinese film Suzhou River (2000). Directed by Lou Ye, this film is a love story set in Shanghai, China. Though it was strongly criticized and even banned in China for five years, many critics said that the film’s take of film noir would give the sixth generation a new voice in its movement to highlight urban culture. 

Suzhou River follows the love lives of four young people in Shanghai. The film is narrated and “shot” by an anonymous videographer who falls in love with the free spirited Meimei (Zhou Xun). The narrator also walks us through the tragic love story of Mardar and Moudan. Mardar is a motorcycle courier hired by Moudan’s father to transport her to and from her aunt’s house. On their many trips, the two fall in love. However, Mardar is also involved in a kidnapping scheme with his former lover. When Moudan learns about this, she jumps into the Suzhou River and disappears. Mardar spends his life looking for Moudan around the country. 

Junior Renee Xu organized the film screening. She explained that she really likes the international film program because it allows films to be viewed that aren’t made readily available otherwise. 

“It’s almost impossible to see international movies and I really want to bring that kind of perspective to people on campus to help students understand other countries’ cultural traditions or just histories and backgrounds like that through film,” Xu said. 

In terms of why she picked Suzhou River for the film of the week, Xu explained that there are many misconceptions about Shanghai, and that this movie highlights the not so glamorous side of the urban area. 

“I’m Chinese and I wanted to pick something that I was familiar with so when people ask, I can talk to them about the background,” Xu said. She explained that there was a big shift in Shanghai’s culture, status and industry, and that Suzhou River showed the side of it before that shift. 

International Movie Night is held every two weeks in Lathrop Hall. It’s an event that is sponsored by the Africana Latin American Asian Native American (ALANA) Cultural Center, that promotes inclusion on campus. A wide range of films are screened that represent the cultures of the international

students here at Colgate.