×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Mosuo Sisters

Cogs in the very big wheel of China's increasingly globalized economy, the titular ethnic sisters illustrate how the international vagaries of financial fortune play havoc with lives whose paths would have been predictable a generation or two ago.

With:
With: Juma, Latso, Atse, Ahlan. (Mandarin, Tibetan, Mosuo dialogue)

Cogs in the very big wheel of China’s increasingly globalized economy, the titular siblings in “The Mosuo Sisters” illustrate how the vagaries of international financial fortune wreak havoc on lives whose paths would have been utterly predictable a generation or two ago. Keeping the focus strictly on individuals, Marlo Poras’ engrossing documentary will make an excellent broadcast item, and could carve out a small theatrical niche for enterprising distribs.

A tiny ethnic minority, the Mosuo are a subject of fascination (and considerable misunderstanding) among the larger Chinese population for their matriarchal structure and traditional practice of “walking marriage,” in which husband and wife each remain living primarily under their mothers’ roofs even after children are born.

But wedlock is not much on the minds of the sisters at the outset. Resourceful 25-year-old Juma is largely supporting her family back home, as well as younger sister Latso’s studies, by singing in a Beijing nightclub. It’s not particularly enjoyable work — especially when a customer with possible criminal ties turns stalker — but it’s a gig that’s missed when the worldwide economic downturn forces the business to shutter.

Juma follows a steady boyfriend (also a singer) to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, in search of other employment, while Latso is forced to give up her accounting courses and return to backbreaking manual labor on the family farm. But despite each sister’s initially clear ambitions, things don’t turn out as either expect, their eventual choices underlining the paramount importance of familial and class roots despite all of present-day China’s opportunities for upward mobility.

Ultimately, “The Mosuo Sisters” is a well-shot, confidently crafted feature with the firm narrative drive of an old-fashioned novel, one that puts its leading figures’ fates at the fore, and lets the viewer interpret the larger sociopolitical meanings as they will.

The Mosuo Sisters

Production: A Marlo Poras Prods. and ITVS production in association with Caam. Produced by Marlo Poras, Yu Ying Wu Chou. Executive producer, David Sutherland. Directed by Marlo Poras.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Poras; editor, Amy Foote; music, Shawn James Seymour; music supervisor, Ben Davis; sound, Jim Sullivan. Reviewed at Santa Barbara Film Festival (Documentary -- Pan Asia), Jan. 30, 2013. (Also in Doc NYC.) Running time: 80 MIN.

With: With: Juma, Latso, Atse, Ahlan. (Mandarin, Tibetan, Mosuo dialogue)

More Film

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo' Review: Abdellatif

    Cannes Film Review: 'Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo'

    A simple but somehow atypical shot opens Abdellatif Kechiche’s new film: a serene closeup of a young woman’s face, as seen through the camera lens of Amir, a budding photographer still finding his perspective. Her expression is ambiguously tranquil, her long hair lightly rustled by a humid breeze, all softly lit by a sinking afternoon [...]

  • Crown Vic

    Thomas Jane's Police Thriller 'Crown Vic' Sells to Screen Media (EXCLUSIVE)

    Screen Media has bought North American rights to writer-director Joel Souza’s police crime-thriller “Crown Vic,” starring Thomas Jane and Luke Kleintank. The distributor closed terms during the Cannes Film Festival amid a competitive bidding situation between seven other suitors. Screen Media plans to release the pic this fall. “Crown Vic” premiered in April at the [...]

  • Colleen Bell

    Colleen Bell Replaces Amy Lemisch as California Film Commission Director

    Veteran entertainment executive and ambassador Colleen Bell will replace Amy Lemisch as director of the California Film Commission. Bell, who was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday, has worked as a consultant since 2017. She was the U.S. ambassador to Hungary from 2014 to 2017. She held several positions at Bell-Phillip Television Productions, including [...]

  • Jon Feltheimer

    Lionsgate Posts Loss, Underperforms Wall Street Expectations

    Lionsgate has posted a quarterly loss and its revenues and operating income have come in under Wall Street projections, despite growth from its premium cable channel, Starz. The studio reported a net loss of $24 million, or 11 cents a share, with adjusted operating income of $103 million for its fourth fiscal quarter ended March [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content