Online Screening & Conversation with the Director: The Old Town Girls

March 16, 2023
7:00 - 8:00 PM EDT

As part of China Institute’s film series, we will be holding a private online screening of the newly released and highly popular neo-noir thriller, The Old Town Girls 《兔子暴力》. Inspired by a true crime, the film stars renowned actresses Qian WAN 万茜 and Gengxi LI 李庚希.

Inspired by a true incident, Shen Yu’s debut OLD TOWN GIRLS tells a tale about how an unsustained economic boom desolates working-class communities and familial relations. Tempted by living a new life as a professional dancer in big cities, Qu Ting bid farewell to her marriage in a decaying rust bell town, leaving behind her infant daughter, Shui Qing, who’s been alienated by her dad’s new family since. Never felt equally loveable as her peers, Shui Qing instantly gets carried away by Qu Ting’s worldly charisma and maternal attention when the two meet seventeen years later. But the high schooler is soon forced to face the reality behind her mom’s sudden reappearance and years of unglamorous survival. As dangers loom, she decides to sacrifice everything for the slim chance of reunification.

A private link to the film will be available to event registrants from March 10th to March 17th. We will invite Director Yu SHEN of The Old Town Girls and film critic Karen MA to join us in an online discussion at 7-8pm ET on March 16th, 2023.

This program is made possible through the support of the Chinese International Education Foundation, and generous supporters of China Institute.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


Yu Shen

Director Yu SHEN is one of the few young female film directors who are on the rise in China. Graduated with an MFA degree from the directing department of Beijing Film Academy, Yu wears many hats as a screenwriter, director, and production designer. She directed mini films Fei, Run and Unusual Friendship before embarking on her debut The Old Town Girls. She was the only female finalist of the first CFDG Young Director Support Program organized by China Film Directors’ Guild..

Karen Ma

Karen Ma is the author of the book China’s Millennial Digital Generation: Conversations with Balinghou Indie Filmmakers published in June 2022 by Long River Press. An independent film scholar and movie critic specializing in Chinese cinema, she taught Chinese culture and film courses at The Beijing Center of Chinese Studies before relocating to the US in 2017. Ma has a bachelor’s degree from Tokyo’s Sophia University and an M.A. in Chinese literature from the University of Washington, Seattle. She is also the author of Excess Baggage (China Books, 2013), a novel about a Chinese family’s struggle to make its way in Tokyo. She has been teaching at China Institute in Chinese language and Chinese cinema courses since 2021.

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