By Xiaoling ZHU


Drama - Completed 2010

In Southern China, in the Dong community, A Qiu finds herself at the crossroads of modernity and tradition. At 12 years old, she invites the viewer to share her dreams and hopes during 4 seasons of a formative year, amidst rice paddies, a truly special way of life and beautiful, scenic, landscape.

    • Year of production
    • 2010
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Other
    • Duration
    • 82 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Xiaoling ZHU
    • Writer(s)
    • Simon PRADINAS, Xiaoling ZHU
    • Producer(s)
    • Jean DE TREGOMAIN, Simon PRADINAS, Xiaoling ZHU
    • Synopsis
    • A Qiu is a 12 years old girl. She is a Dong, an ethnic minority from Southern China which has its own language, unwritten yet full of history.
      A people with rich artistic traditions.
      A people that shaped the surrounding mountains and covered them with terraced rice paddies.
      A Qiu lives with her younger brother, Abao, 8 years old; they are brought up by their grandparents. To earn their living and pay for the children’s education, their parents have left to work on a building site, in the capital of the Province.
      The grandfather, an architect, builds traditional wooden buildings : houses, covered bridges, and especially the famous Drum Towers, these holy towers that are the emblem of each village.
      A Qiu spends her life between school, where they are taught in Mandarin language, and the rice fields where she works to help her grandparents. At school she is confronted with modern life; at home, with her grandparents, tradition is sometimes heavy.
      When fall comes, during the harvest, the Grandmother dies. In order to help the grandfather in the paddy, the parents come back home temporarily. The family is reunited, bonds are tied but the family members apprehend life in rather different, personal manners.
      The father longs to go back to town where he was happy; the mother, for one, rediscovers the singing of traditional songs, which made her well-known and appreciated when she was younger. A Qiu studies passionately in order to pass the college exam. She dreams of becoming a writer one day. She looks up to her friend Qiao Mi, who is already a woman and is not one bit interested in school: her goal is to win the next “Miss Dong” competition.
      Abao, the young brother, is more attracted by games than school. He likes animals, such as the buffalo bought by his father to help to plow in the fields.
      As the seasons go by, work in the paddy sets the pace of life and one’s hopes, endeavours and dreams are revealed.
      Fall is back again, A Qiu has managed to get the grades required to start in the college she wanted. Also, her mother’s successful singing career allows her to pay the school fees.
      In spite of all, life goes on. Gradually, modernity erodes the traditional way of life paced by the cycles of rice cultivation and the rites attached. A Qiu’s family tries to adjust to the world, between tradition and modernity, and try to embrace the future as serenely as possible. But a fire destroys the village…
      This ecologic story is the first film shot in Dong language – Original Tibeto-Burman dialect, with villagers and non-professional actors,
      The Rice Paddy is the first film by Xiaoling ZHU.
      Xiaoling ZHU grew up in the area set in the movie, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.