The Black and White Milk Cow: (Yi Zhi Hua Nai Niu)

From The dGenerate Films Collection

Directed by YANG Jin

93 minutes / Color
Mandarin / English subtitles
Release: 2012
Copyright: 2004

A young schoolteacher unknowingly enters a tangled web of politics in Yang Jin's unsentimental dissection of the Chinese countryside.

When his father dies from AIDS following a botched blood transfer, Jinsheng must return to his home village to take care of his aging grandmother. Taking on the role of a schoolteacher in this barren village, Jinsheng is given a milk cow for his salary in place of money. On behalf of his students, the young man cunningly uses the cow to gain influence within this poor community dominated by stifling bureaucratic governance and backward feudal customs. Will Jinsheng's unexpected rise to power be crushed within this oppressive environment, or will he find his way back out?

Shot on a micro-budget with remarkable black-and-white compositions, this debut film by Yang Jin (ER DONG, 2009 Rotterdam Film Festival), is a bold look at the starkly limited prospects for youth stranded in China's poorest regions. The film depicts a rural landscape left behind by urban growth, blighted by poverty and HIV, still a taboo topic in China. THE BLACK AND WHITE MILK COW offers one of the most thoughtful considerations of social commitment and individual responsibility in contemporary Chinese cinema.

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Select Accolades

  • Ecumenical Jury Award, Don Quixote Prize, Fribourg International Film Festival
  • NETPAC Award, Delhi Cinefan Festival
  • Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema Award, Osiana's Cinefan Festival
  • Shadow Film Festival, Paris


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