Sichuan hao nuren

The Good Woman of Sichuan
We don’t see the woman on the train moving through Sichuan, just the trees, rivers, lakes and houses passing by the window, vanishing behind the blur of vegetation, segmented by the tunnels. Perhaps she’s one of the two women we later observe in Leshan, by the river, at the hairdresser, buying clothes, sleeping on the window sill, although the restricted framings mean the city is more heard than seen. Of the women we hear in voiceover, one is an actress, she talks about the play she’s working on, an abstract, fluid staging of Brecht’s “The Good Person of Szechwan” being put on by a female director that’s also set in Leshan. What’s fluidity anyway? If it weren’t for the intertitle saying this isn’t an adaptation, the actress could be talking about this film too, it shares those qualities as well as others from the play. The shifts here aren’t from woman to man, but between modes, formats and registers, like thoughts that scatter on waking, from stasis to movement, high definition to grain, words to wordlessness, noise to silence, fiction to documentary; the camera is reflected in the window of the train. Any resemblance to the imagined or the dreamed is entirely coincidental.
by Sabrina Zhao
with He Weihang, Zhao Ruobing
Canada 2021 Mandarin 87’ Colour

Part of the Berlinale Summer Special


  • He Weihang
  • Zhao Ruobing


Director Sabrina Zhao
Cinematography Sherry Wu
Editing Sabrina Zhao
Music Kits Shpira
Producer James Qiu

Produced by

James Qiu

Sabrina Zhao

Born in 1996 in Sichuan, China. She divides her time between Chengdu, Abu Dhabi and Toronto, where she is currently studying film production. Sichuan hao nuren is her first feature following three short and medium-length films.


2018 My Unloving Love; 6 min. 2019 Vicky, I and Herself; 24 min. 2020 Nini, ni na bian ji dian le? (Nini, What Time Is It There?); 33 min.

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2021