Our Rating: ★★★☆☆
L Factor: Major lesbian content
Short Take: Best friends in a small Chinese fishing village vow to stay together as ‘sister man and wife,’ but they both are made to marry men according to tradition.
Alternate Titles: Shuang zhuo
Year: 1991
Duration: 99 min
Language: Hong Kong/Chinese
MPAA: Not Rated
Director: Yu Shan Huang
Writer: Suk-Wah Leung
Starring: Vivian Chan, Roger Kwok, Winnie Lau, Michael Tao, Yut Fei Wong
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+Alt Tags+Hui-hua (Vivian Chan) and Hsiu (Winnie Lau) are best friends in a small Chinese fishing village. As girls and again as teenagers, they vow to stay together as ‘sister man and wife’ and never leave one another, sealing the pact by exchanging bracelets.

Hui-hua is very independent and troubled by the treatment of other women by their husbands, declaring that she would rather die than be beaten. She begs Hsiu not to marry, so that they can live their lives together, but this is a culture of arranged marriages, with little choice about one’s lot in life.

Hsiu ends content up with a very loving and caring husband, but when Hui-hua is finally forced into marrying, she lands in the hands of an abuser. After running home, her mother only sends her back, telling her that she is a shame to the family. Hui-hua blames her mother for not sending her to school, proclaiming that she is different from other women. Yet even Hsiu tells her to go back to a face a woman’s duty, something in life that she cannot change.

With no money, a family that won’t take her back, and Hsiu moving out of town with her husband, the heart-wrenching ending seems inevitable. This is a very engaging story showing the oppressive lives that many women must still endure. A well done film, with insights into life and work in a fishing village, but don’t watch if you need a happy ending. (AB)