Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  50 minutes
Date:  1996
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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Half The Sky

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Changes in the lives of four generations of Chinese women.

Half The Sky

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.

'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.' Video Librarian


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


Main credits

Fang, Xichen (film producer)
Sun, Shuyun (film director)
Sun, Shuyun (film producer)
Chan, Jacqui (narrator)

Other credits

Camera, Yang Zhiju; painter, Wang Jianan; editor, Steve Stevenson; original music by Lui Suola.

Distributor credits

China Global Graphics, Ltd.

Sun Shuyun

China Global Graphics, Ltd.
Sun Shuyun
October Films Production with TVE

Docuseek2 subjects

Women's Studies
Cultural Anthropology
Women's History

Distributor subjects

Asian Studies
Developing World
Women's Studies


Chinese women, China, women, Beijing, Mao Zedong, economic reforms, foot binding; "Half The Sky"; Bullfrog Films

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