Women Demon Human (Ren gui qing)

China 1987, Feature film, 106' | Director Huang Shuqin | Screenplay Huang Shuqin, Ziyu Li, Guoxun Song | DoP Lixing Xia, Hongsheng Xu | Editor Jialin Liu | Sound Weijia Ge | Music Mao Yang | Cast Yanling Pei, Shouli Xu, Baotian Li, Lin Gong, Feifei Wang, Qilin Ji, Cangjun Wang

Ren gui qing is based on the life of Peking opera star Pei Yanling (in the film she is called Qiu Yun), who was famous for playing male roles, in particular for the role of the ghost-hunting underworld god, Zhong Kui.

Qiu Yun's parents are actors in a travelling opera troupe. One day her mother leaves the family for another man. The girl stays with her father. She becomes more and more interested - initially against his will - in males roles, and eventually the father gives in to her urging to teach the talented girl.

The film shows the stages in her career: the strenuous training for the opera, unrequited love, fame and glory. In her fantasies, Qiu Yun keeps on meeting her alter ego Zhong Kui (played by Pei Yanling).

In innovative images, Huang Shuqin convincingly reveals the conflict of her protagonist, torn between her inner and outer world. Film historian and cultural scientist Dai Jinhua described Ren gui qing as the only really feminist film of China.


HUANG SHUQIN was born in 1940 as the daughter of the famous director Huang Zuolin. She studied at the Film Academy Peking and began her career as assistant director in the Shanghai Film Studio. In 1981 she presented her directing debut with Dangdai ren. Her films won awards in China, Russia, Brazil and France. In 1990 she also directed the celebrated television series, Wei Cheng.

Huang Shuqin
Feature Film
Focus: China