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The Women’s Kingdom
A film by Xiaoli Zhou, Produced by Xiaoli Zhou & Brent E. Huffman
China/US, 2006, 22 minutes, Color, DVD, Mandarin, Subtitled
Order No. W09928
Keepers of one of the last matriarchal societies in the world, Mosuo women in a remote area of southwest China live beyond the strictures of mainstream Chinese culture – enjoying great freedoms and carrying heavy responsibilities.

Beautifully shot and featuring intimate interviews, this short documentary offers a rare glimpse into a society virtually unheard of 10 years ago and now often misrepresented in the media. Mosuo women control their own finances and do not marry or live with partners; they practice what they call "walking marriage." A man may be invited into a woman’s hut to spend a "sweet night," but must leave by daybreak. While tourism has brought wealth and 21st century conveniences to this remote area, it has also introduced difficult challenges to the Mosuo culture – from pollution in the lake, to the establishment of brothels, to mainstream ideas about women, beauty and family. This finely wrought film is a sensitive portrayal of extraordinary women struggling to hold on to their extraordinary society.


Student Academy Award, Silver Medal
San Francisco Women’s Film Festival, Best Editing
Fresno Film Festiva, Audience Award for Short Documentary

  • Ventura Film Festival
  • Asian Cine Vision, NY
  • Boston Asian American Film Festival
  • African American Women Film Festival
  • San Francisco Int'l Asian American Film Festival
  • San Diego Asian Film Festival
  • Vancouver Asian Film Festival
  • Asian Film Festival of Dallas
  • San Francisco Women of Color Film Festival
  • Ladyfest, Chicago, IL
  • Tri-Continental Film Festival
  • Through the Eyes of Women, Sarasota, FL
  • State of Flux, The Asia Society, New York City
  • Berkshire Women’s Film Festival, MA

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    “3 ½ stars. Highly Recommended. Sophisticated… does a fine job of presenting an overview of a fascinating and complex culture.”
    Video Librarian

    “A lovely film about a rural culture challenging the assumptions of mainstream Chinese society.”
    Curve Magazine

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    The Women’s Kingdom 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