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The Mosuo Sisters
A film by Marlo Poras, Produced by Marlo Poras and Yu Ying Wu Chou
US/China, 2013, 80 minutes, Color, DVD, Mandarin/Mosuo/Tibetan, Subtitled
Order No. W131105
A tale of two sisters living in the shadow of two Chinas, this documentary by award-winning filmmaker Marlo Poras (Mai’s America; Run Granny Run) follows Juma and Latso, young women from one of the world’s last remaining matriarchal societies. Thrust into the worldwide economic downturn after losing jobs in Beijing and left with few options, they return to their remote Himalayan village. But growing exposure to modernity has irreparably altered traditions of the Mosuo, their tiny ethnic miniority, and home is not the same. Determined to keep their family out of poverty, one sister sacrifices her educational dreams and stays home to farm, while the other leaves, trying her luck in the city. The changes test them in unexpected ways. This visually stunning film highlights today’s realities of women’s lives and China’s vast cultural and economic divides while offering rare views of a surviving matriarchy.


  • Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
  • Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival
  • DOXA Documentary Film Festival
  • Doc NYC
  • Salem Film Festival
  • San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film Festival
  • Zurich Film Festival

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    "A moving fillm...depicts the struggles of two sisters from an ethnic group in China whose lives lead them away from the family village, then away from each other, and ultimately back together--but perhaps for the last generation of their society."
    Jack David Eller
    Anthropology Review

    "3 stars! Offering a rare glimpse into a little-seen segment of Chinese society, this is recommended."
    Video Librarian

    "A well-shot, confidently crafted feature with the firm narrative drive of an old-fashioned novel, one that pulls its leading figures’ fates at the fore . . . "
    Dennis Harvey

    "A quietly stunning portrait of modern China."
    Boston Globe

    “Does what good documentaries should: provide insight into the unseen.”
    Loren King
    Rocky Mountain Outlook

    "An outstanding film. The sisters’ appealing personalities and articulate narration, the universality of the story, and the striking visuals all combine to hold a viewer’s interest and offer a variety of possible lessons about gender, ethnicity, labour, family, and ambition in today’s China."
    Stevan Harrell
    Pacific Affairs

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    The Mosuo Sisters 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