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113 Ratings

I Am Not Madame Bovary

我不是潘金莲 | Wo bu shi pan jin lian

Directed by Feng Xiaogang
China, 2016
Comedy, Drama


After being swindled by her ex-husband, a woman takes on the Chinese legal system.

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I Am Not Madame Bovary Directed by Feng Xiaogang

Awards & Festivals

Toronto International Film Festival

2016 | Winner: CFTPA Producer's Award

San Sebastián International Film Festival

2016 | 2 wins including: Best Film (Golden Seashell)

Golden Horse Film Festival

2016 | 2 wins including: Best Director

The film is powered by hints of humour and inevitable sorrow, while there are a few overlong passages and one particularly annoying scene that has been ripped directly from Liu Zhenyun’s source novel. Yet Fan and her male co-stars manage to maintain the sense of drama right until the end. The film leaves us to wonder whether Li will finally be understood by those in charge of her own country’s crooked legal system.
May 26, 2017
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Occasionally, the circular matte amplifies the pictorialism of the image, endowing it with a painterly quality that pulls the film away from any suggestion of social realism. The square frame, used predominantly for the scenes in Beijing, at times rhymes with vertical elements of the mise en scène and evokes a context of towering authority… Mostly, though, this flourish comes off merely as a distracting gimmick, a blight on the film’s searing satire.
April 28, 2017
It’s not necessary to insist on reading Bovary as a lightly disguised critique of China’s petitioner system. The film’s destabilizing power comes from its texture, its discourse, and its accumulation of detail. Feng’s laser-sharp analysis of the relationships between citizens and government power are all there, in the text (rather than the subtext) of the film. His analysis is subtle, acute, and scathing enough to activate the film’s critique.
March 24, 2017
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