Directed by Li Yu
China, 2005, 93 minutes, in Mandarin and Sichuan Dialect
“Dam Street is an immensely touching and captivating story of love and marginalization created with Li’s skilled, caring directorial hand.” – Giovanna Fulvi, Toronto International Film Festival
With a backdrop of Mao's 1983 China, sixteen-year-old Xiao Yun finds herself pregnant. Her situation is not only an immense loss of face for her family, but also a violation of China’s rigid morals. She and her boyfriend, Wang Feng, are expelled from school. Wang leaves her after convincing his sister to help Xiao Yun give birth, then give the baby it up for adoption. Ten years later, Xiao Yun still lives in the small riverside town. While strikingly beautiful, she is reduced to working as the lead singer in a shabby local song and dance troupe. Her relationship with her mother remains strained, and her love life, an affair with a married man, is even less comforting. Her only real companion is Xiao Yong, a curious young boy who lives across the dam. Xiao Yong follows her everywhere, fiercely protecting her from the judgmental community, keeping her company, and even as her friends tease, becoming her little "boyfriend." When Xiao Yun accepts a marriage proposal her relationship with Xiao Yong is tested, forcing her to deal with her unresolved past.
About the Director
Li Yu was born in 1973 in Shangdong Province in Northern China. She earned a degree in Chinese literature and became one of the top TV hosts in China. After moving to Beijing she began working on documentaries, joining CCTV's (China Central Television) feature program "Life Space." Her documentaries include Sisters (1999). Her first feature film, Fish and Elephant (2001) was internationally-acclaimed. Dam Street is her second feature film.