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Out of Phoenix Bridge
A film by Li Hong
China, 1997, 110 minutes, Color, DVD, Subtitled
Order No. W99609
This groundbreaking work from Li Hong, China’s first independent female documentarian, follows two years in the lives of four young women from the countryside who have come to Beijing for jobs. Although they work long hours as maids or street vendors and share a tiny room no bigger than a closet, they savor these years— between living as a daughter at home and returning to the village to marry —as probably the freest time of their lives. Documenting both her deepening relationship with these women and the gulf of experiences and opportunity that separate them, Hong carefully charts their hopes for a better future and dreams of self-determination.

In interviews and intimate footage, Hong elicits remarkably candid and complex testimony from her subjects as they frankly discuss their work, pressures from home, and experiences with men. A remarkable achievement, this touching film is a fascinating look at the lives of women whose experiences are rarely explored. As they straddle traditional and modern roles, their stories uniquely exemplify the conflicts between the swift changes in women’s roles occurring in China and around the developing world.


  • Yamagata Intl. Doc. Film Festival, Ogawa Shinsuke Prize
  • Munich Film Festival, Special Mention, Media Net Awards
  • New York International Documentary Festival
  • Festival International de Films de Femmes, Creteil, France
  • MOMA, New Chinese Documentary
  • San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film Festival

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    “... a remarkable work by China’s first woman independent documentarist...”
    Chris Berry
    Cinema Studies, La Trobe University

    “This is a powerful work in which a reportage approach transforms into a documentary.”
    Yamagata Int’l Doc Film Festival

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    Out of Phoenix Bridge is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us