Gong Li delivers a superbly nuanced performance as the titular heroine in director Yimou Zhang's droll take on the absurdities of bureaucratic impotency. Set in a remote Chinese province, the film follows pregnant peasant Qui Ju on her resolute quest for justice after the village elder kicks her husband in the family jewels. Merely seeking an apology from the stubborn chief, Qui Ju soon gets caught in the cogs of an exasperating legal system.

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