A NORTH CHINESE GIRLXiao Xue is nineteen and lives in a town in northern China. During the day she works as a sales assistant in a fashion store. At night she accompanies her boss on his various social engagements and activities. She makes herself useful as a hostess when he invites his friends out, joining him on outings to karaoke bars and nightclubs. Xiao Xue sees all of this as an opportunity to improve her standard of living. But then, out of the blue, she falls pregnant and this changes her life in an unexpected way.
As much as anything else, director Zou Peng sees his feature debut as an homage to his native town of Harbin: “Following the fortunes of the main character Xiao Xue enables me to take a look at contemporary urban life. Harbin is also known as the ‘city of ice’ on account of the huge ice sculptures that illuminate the streets of the city in the winter like crystal palaces, captivating all who see them. Every spring, the warm winds melt these sculptures. It’s been twenty years since I was last in my home town. The pace of life and the values of the people who live here have changed. This combination of familiarity and strangeness inspired me to create the story of this film. I decided to choose film as the language through which I could communicate with the city and try to get close to it again; to explore and describe it.”