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"Under the Hawthorn Tree" is adapted from Ai Mi's popular 2007 novel of the same name, which is based on the real-life stories of the book's heroine, Jingqiu, who shared her diary with the author.

The story is of an unfulfilled romance between Jingqiu and a young man named Laosan during their "zhiqing" days towards the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Zhiqing refers to young urbanites who were sent to the countryside during that turbulent decade. Jingqiu, who had had a difficult life after her father was labeled a right-winger, met the handsome Laosan, who had a promising future because of his high-ranking military officer father. The couple fell in love, despite the gulf between their backgrounds.

How will "the purest love ever", as the novel's fans dubbed it, be presented on the big screen? Expectations are certainly high.


Click to watch the trailer.


Zhou Dongyu as Jingqiu

Zhang Yimou is known for his star-making power. Actresses who shot to fame after starring in his films are favorably called "Mou girls", the most famous being Zhang Ziyi.

Looking as innocent as Zhang Ziyi in her big-screen debut "The Road Home", 18-year-old Zhou Dongyu, who plays Jingqiu, is well on track to follow Zhang Ziyi's path to stardom. Zhou was in her final high-school year when she landed the plum role, and she chose to skip college entrance exams in order to star in the film.
"Under the Hawthorn Tree" also features Shawn Dou, another newcomer, as Laosan. Dou was born in China, raised in Canada and is now studying acting at the Beijing Film Academy. A strong supporting cast includes Li Xuejian, Xi Meijuan, Lv Liping and Sun Haiying.
 

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