Night Girl: Mädchengeschichten

China/Germany 2001, Documentary, 45' | Director, Screenplay, DoP, Editor, Sound Yingli Ma | Production Katya Mader

The 17-year-old Han Lin was born in Beijing and grew up in the centre of the metropolis. She lives with her family in a flat that has belonged to relatives for fifty years and is due to be demolished. Three generations still meet up there every day. Yet the fact of living together - moulded as it is by a distinct need for harmony - is not always easy.

Han Lin is exposed to special pressure on account of her work as a go-go dancer even though her income helps the family to survive. Added to which, she loves a man who is married and has children. Despite this tense situation, Han Lin radiates remarkable composure. Indeed, for her age she comes over as almost too mature.

Night Girl was one of the contributions to the documentary series entitled Mädchengeschichten ("Girls' Stories") made for 3sat, a German TV arts channel. Each film portrays 17-year-old girls from different countries all over the world and each is directed by a woman director who usually comes from the country in question. In this way, the girls' stories represent not only the life trajectories of the young women but also the different documentary-film styles of international women directors.


MA YINGLI was born 1965 in Nanjing. She studied film direction at the "Communication University of China" and at the "dffb" (the German Film & TV Academy in Berlin). Since 1988, she has worked as a freelance journalist for "Deutsche Welle", the international news broadcaster. Ma Yingli's short film Ein schweigsamer Sommer ("A Silent Summer") and her graduation piece DAYS OF MIANDI have also been broadcast by 3sat. In 1998, she made the documentary film Bye, bye - Hello for the ZDF, Germany's Channel 2.

Yingli Ma
Germany, China
Focus: China