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Dam Street - arthouse and international DVD / foreign language DVD review
DAM STREET Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Actors: Liu Yiran, Huang Xingrao, Li Kechun, Wang Yizhu, Liu Rui, Wang Wei
Director: Li Yu   Studio: First Run Features
DVD release: 22 April 2008   Runtime: 93 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
DVD Features: Audio Tracks (Mandarin, Sichuan), Subtitles (English), Director's notes, About China, Historical background, Biographies, Discussion Guide (Global Lens Showcase, Global Lens 2007 Series Trailer), The Global Film Initiative, First Run Features

A love affair in school gets teenaged Xiao Yun pregnant. This is China in the early 1980s, and the town is conservative. For Xiao Yun and her family, the consequences are disastrous: both she and her boyfriend are expelled from school and ostracized. In the scandal that follows, the boyfriend is sent away by his family. Xiao Yun gives birth to a baby that her mother puts up for adoption.

Cut to many years later. Xiao Yun is now a singer who earns her living with a local singing troupe. Her mother continues to teach children, and Xiao often finds her mother's student little Xiao Yong spending time at their home. A wonderful bond of friendship, affection and trust develops between the two. Xiao Yong lives with his single mother, and Xiao Yun's teacher mom goes to meet them in secret. Who, really, is Xiao Yong? No prizes for guessing that!

The beauty of Dam Street is its wonderful portrayal of small-town China; the people who inhabit these towns, and their grim, tough, humdrum existence. Providing a perfect foil to the environment is the gentle and kind affection between an ostracized woman and the small boy.
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reviewed by Shampa Chatterjee
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