Friday, May 3, 2019
Nate Hood ponders LEFTOVER WOMEN (2019) Tribeca 2019
It’s a startling look into the uphill battle she, and millions of other Chinese women, continue to fight as their country struggles with the gender gap created by the one-child policy where sex-selective abortion and mandatory sterilization contributed to an imbalance of 30 million more men than women. The government, correctly seeing this as a threat to social stability, have redoubled efforts to force what women remain into early marriages. We see this in Xu Min, a 28-year old living with her parents who attends an “Annual Government Blind Date” alongside dozens of nervous, awkward twenty-and-thirtysomethings—it goes about as well as one could imagine government-mandated dating might. And even if these “leftovers” find suitable partners, they still face parental pushback if their matches don’t meet their absurd standards, something the middle-aged Gai Qi learns when her mom rejects her younger boyfriend because he isn’t from Beijing.
The chilling thing is that Leftover Women doesn’t necessarily represent a problem, but the dawning of one, a demographic cataclysm that sees no signs of going away. Unless change happens soon, things will only get worse for all the HuaMei’s, Min’s, and Qi’s in China.