Locust Tree Village is the film adaptation of a well-known Chinese revolutionary play, dedicated to a real person, Rong Guanxiu, the "Mother of Soldiers".
In 1947 the War of Liberation is still going on. Guo Daniang (Mother Guo) leads the poor peasants of the village in the expropriation of the large estates of owner Cui Laokun. His son Cui Zhiguo tries to protect his property.
After the land has been redistributed, it is then to be collectivised again. But not everyone is happy with this.
Guishuzhuang is about the stony path from land distribution to an agricultural people's commune. The problems of this process are hinted at, but in the end the "right way" triumphs. Guo Daniang convinces the villagers of the advantages of the commune and is confirmed as their leader. In 1958, after the successful inauguration of the people's commune, she is even invited to Beijing.
The film was made during the "Great Leap Forward" - Mao's remorseless industrialisation campaign between 1958 and 1962, which ended in the greatest famine in history. During the filming, China was starving, as was the film crew.
WANG PING comes from a family of the Hui minority (an Islamic minority). In the 30's she studied at the teaching high school of Nanjing and then became a stage and film actress. In 1951 she made her first film, Attack on the River, an instructional film made for the Chinese Army. She received the Hundred Flowers Award the best woman director for Guishuzhuang. In the late 60's and early 70's, she became a victim of the Cultural Revolution and was banned from working. In 1978 she became the vice-director of the 1st August Film Studio. Wang Ping died in 1990 in Beijing. She was the first woman to take up film directing in China.