Blush (1995 film)

Blush (simplified Chinese: 红粉; traditional Chinese: 紅粉; pinyin: Hóngfěn) is a 1995 Chinese film about the experience of two women during China's campaign to re-educate prostitutes. Blush was directed by Li Shaohong and stars He Saifei, Wang Ji, and Wang Zhiwen. The film was a co-production between Hong Kong's Ocean Film and Beijing Film Studio.[1] The film is based on the novel Petulia's Rouge Tin (in Chinese, named Hóngfèn) by the writer Su Tong.[2] Blush won the Silver Bear for Outstanding Single Achievement at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival, and "Golden Peacock Award for Best Film" at the 27th International Film Festival of India.[3][4]

Directed byLi Shaohong
Written byNi Zhen
Su Tong
Produced byChen Kunming
Yi Liu
Jimmy Tan
StarringWang Ji
He Saifei
Wang Zhiwen
CinematographyZeng Nianping
Edited byZhou Xinxia
Music byGuo Wenjing
Beijing Film Studio
Distributed byUnited States:
First Run Features
Release date
  • 8 September 1995 (1995-09-08) (Toronto)
Running time
115 minutes


Blush takes place in the 1950s during a campaign by the new Communist government in China designed to "re-educate" prostitutes to become contributing members of society. Two such prostitutes, Xiao'e (Chinese: 小萼; pinyin: Xiǎo È; Wade–Giles: Hsiao E/O; He Saifei, "Petulia" in the English translation of the novel[5]) and Qiuyi (Wang Ji, "Autumn Grace" in the novel's English translation[5]), have recently been sent to a re-education camp by the People's Liberation Army. Rebelling against her new life of uniforms and forced re-education, Qiuyi escapes and becomes a kept woman for Laopu (Wang Zhiwen; "Mr. P'u" in the novel's English version[5]). When Qiuyi becomes pregnant, she seeks refuge in a Buddhist temple but is cast out when the nuns discover her pregnancy - soon after, the baby miscarries.

Left in the training camp, Xiao'e undergoes her ideological re-education and emerges from her ordeal as a factory worker. Detesting physical labor, she goes on to marry Laopu and has a child with him, forcing him to steal money from work. When Laopu is caught, he is sentenced to death, and Xiao'e abandons him and her child to remarry. As the film ends, Xiao'E's child is adopted by Qiuyi, who had gone on to marry a simple old teahouse owner.


Blush was well received by most critics in the West, with Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader calling it the "most emotionally complex picture I've seen from mainland China about the effect of the communist revolution on the lives of ordinary people."[6]


  1. ^ Zhang, Yingjin & Xiao, Zhiwei (1998). "The Fifth Generation" in Encyclopedia of Chinese Film. Taylor & Francis, p. 98-99. ISBN 0-415-15168-6.
  2. ^ Davis, Edward L. (1 January 2009). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Chinese Culture. Taylor & Francis. p. 790. ISBN 978-0-415-77716-2.
  3. ^ "Power can't be Neglected in China's".
  4. ^ "Home > Archive > Annual Archives > 1995 > Prize Winners". Berlinale. 1995. Retrieved 17 March 2009.
  5. ^ a b c Gordon, Peter (25 June 2018). "Raise the Red Lantern author pens another winner in Petulia's Rouge Tin, a Penguin Special". Asian Review of Books (published at the South China Morning Post). Retrieved 5 November 2018. - Original page
  6. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathon (1997). "How to Read the Revolution". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 17 March 2009.

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