Perpetual Motion

Pegged by Western critics as a Chinese Sex and the City, Perpetual Motion rapidly became a cult item in China, noted both for its frank treatment of women's sexuality and for its irreverence toward the nation's past. Discovering an erotic e-mail to her husband from another woman, affluent editor Niuniu (played by publisher Hung Huang) invites three friends—Lala (musician Liu Sola), Madame Ye (businesswoman Ping Yanni), and Qinqin (actress Li Qinqin)—to a Spring Festival luncheon, hoping to uncover the message's author. These successful, worldly women trade raunchy confessions while smoking, devouring hens' feet (“you can feel the hen's strength in her claws”), and playing mahjong, but an air of melancholy deepens come evening, when memories creep in. Repurposing revolutionary adages into jokes about menopause, Ning and her protagonists give new meaning to a maxim from a different revolution: the personal is political.
—Juliet Clark

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