In the wake of Hostel: Part II and any other sex slavery film du jour, the synopsis for Li Yang’s Blind Mountain sounds desperately lurid: With the promise of some quick cash, pretty, young, college-educated Bai Xuemei follows some new acquaintances into a remote rural village in the Shaanxi region of China, where she’s drugged, kidnapped, and sold into an illegal forced marriage. Unable to reason with her new husband, Huang Degui, his parents, or the corrupt local government, Bai is held in a Kafkaesque, but all too real nightmare, coerced into labor, sexual compliance, and even childbirth with little hope for justice or escape.
But this sort of glib synopsis would mask the intentions of a patient, politically subtle film with a good deal more to say about contemporary China as a whole than Eli Roth’s film about the Slovakian black market in particular. Not simply exploitation with an air of social conscience, Yang’s film is rather more like 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days in that it uses as its raw material a contentious women’s rights issue to drive home a broader point about the political and the personal.
Click here to read the rest of Leo Goldsmith’s review of Blind Mountain.