Black Snow (1990 film)

Black Snow (Chinese: 本命年; pinyin: běn mìng nián) is a 1990 Chinese drama film directed by Xie Fei. It was written and adapted from a novel by Liu Heng.[2] It was entered into the 40th Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Silver Bear for an outstanding single achievement.[3] Although the English film title follows the original name of the novel,[4] the Chinese film title 本命年 běnmìngnián means the year when someone is aged 12, 24, 36, and so on when the Twelve Terrestrial Branches come round again.

Black Snow
Black Snow (film).jpg
DVD cover
Directed byXie Fei
Produced byYongxin Li
Written byLiu Heng
StarringCai Hongxiang
CinematographyXiao Feng
Release date
  • 14 February 1990 (1990-02-14) (Berlin)
Running time
107 minutes


The film captures the social impact of political change in China at the time.[2] A semi-literate who was deprived of schooling during the Cultural Revolution, Li Huiquan, is released from labor camp. He arrives back in his native Beijing to find that he has no family or prospects or friends, just his underworld contacts trying to drag him back into a life of crime.[5][6] His attempts to make good are continually thwarted. His street stall selling clothes puts him on the fringe of the black market, and he soon gets lured back into his old neighbourhood gangs. His disenchanted comrades include a nightclub chanteuse as well as an escaped convict.[7] The film's lurking handheld camera visually presents realistic footage of a man destined for the past from which he left behind.[8]




DVD releaseEdit

In 2010, Black Snow was released as a DVD[5] in a new High-Definition transfer and a booklet featuring essay by author and academic Professor Shaoyi Sun.[9] It includes a 32-minute interview with Xie Fei, in which the director discusses a variety of topics from his training in cinema, to the Cultural Revolution and his approach to teaching filmmaking.[11]


  1. ^ "Black Snow" (PDF). Cine Chine. Cinéma Vendôme. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Cinema China 07". The University of Edinburgh. Archived from the original on 23 February 2007. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Berlinale: 1990 Prize Winners". Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  4. ^ Liu Heng 刘恒 菊豆 ; 秋菊打官司 ; 本命年 ; 大路朝天 : 刘恒影视作品集: Liu Heng Film Novels Collection 1993 Page 58 "根据作者的小说《黑的雪》改编,是作者电影剧本的处女作,剧本原题同小说;影片定名为《本命年》,谢飞导演,姜文、程琳主演;曾获 1990 年第十三届大众电影百花奖最佳故事片奖, 1990 年第四十届西柏林国际电影节银熊奖。 "
  5. ^ a b "Black Snow"., Inc. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  6. ^ a b Wong, L.H. "Black Snow". IMDb., Inc. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Black Snow (Ben ming nian) (1990)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster, Inc. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Black Snow". Asia Pacific Asia Pacific Films. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  9. ^ a b "Black Snow". Second Run DVD. Second Run. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Chinese Cultural Courses". The Confuscius Institute for Scotland. The Confucius Institute for Scotland. Archived from the original on 18 June 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Black Snow". ASIAN FILM - Review. Uncooked Media Ltd. Retrieved 3 June 2012.

External linksEdit