Husband and Wife
(Women fufu zhijian)
(A Married Couple), (Between the Two of Us)
Zhao Dan, Jiang Tianliu, Wu Yin, Liu Xiaohu,
An absorbing example of genre filmmaking in the People’s Republic of China, Husband and Wife could at first glance be mistaken for any other romantic melodrama chronicling the rise and decline of a married couple’s love; here, though, that love takes place in (and is entirely defined by) a realm of political upheaval and Maoist ideology. A Shanghai intellectual marries an illiterate peasant woman–turned–collectivist hero, with outcomes both universal (differences emerge) and specific (revolutionary self-critiques). At first a popular hit, the film (and Zheng himself) was soon critically attacked for counterrevolutionary, pro-bourgeois thought. Zheng even penned a confessional autocritique, but the damage to his career was done.