Marriage, Maoism and Modernity


2009 / 30 minutes

Directed by
Zhifang Song Gary Seaman Steven Rousso-Schindler
Country of production
United States China
Song Family Village

This film outlines the types of marriage exchange practiced in a Chinese village over the last fifty years. Dowry, brideprice and exchange marriages have dominated the marriage market in turn as villagers have responded to changes in economic, political and social conditions. At present, the practice of “pseudodowry” (indirect exchange) marks the ability of young women to demand large payments of cash from the groom’s family, which are used to create prestigious public displays of wedding gifts for the bride. A historical overview links the personal life of Mao Zedong to issues of parental authority in arranging marriages.

Language and subtitles
English and Chinese with English Subtitles
Central Asia and Far East
Marriage History Social Change