"Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl" may seem on thesurface like a purely political document. It is a certainly a condemnationof Chinese government's Cultural Youth Revolution policy that took teenagersaway from their homes in the 1960s and '70s and assigned them to practicalservitude in remote regions of the country.

But this tragic Everygirl allegory of a child "sentdown" to learn a practical trade for the good of the People is sopersonal and affecting, and told with so much heart, that even someonecompletely ignorant of those policies (color me guilty) can become enrapturedby the plight of young Wen Xiu.

Played by Lu Lu, a beautiful and sincere 15-year-old discoveredby actress-turned-director JoanChen, Xiu Xiu (as she is called by her friends)is a giddy, girlish, city-dweller whose bright eyes and sunshine smileare dampened when she is stripped from her family by this government programthat has long since outlived its usefulness, and delivered to a provincialcountryside to learn cavalry.

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