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Hard Love

1h 37m Documentary 2021

Language: Chinese, with English subtitles



UK Premiere | Offline Screening

Synopsis This documentary is a bona fide portrayal of five big-city single Chinese women: one searches for a relationship without a breakup; one believes that egg freezing is the “most valuable investment”; one stumbles between dating events under the pressure of her family; one puts her faith in online dating apps; one assumes the vital role of a single mother. They have different upbringings and values, but they are all facing the same questions in their love lives: In this urbanised, online-socialising, and diverse time, what do we lack in relations? What have we abandoned? What have we neglected?

Curators’ Notes This is a rarely seen documentary about five single ladies who have different perspectives on marriage. The Chinese title “lian ai” originally refers to “romantic relationship.” However, director Dong deliberately changes the first character to a homophone that represents the process of smelting and refining. That echoes the English title Hard Love which signifies true love is hard to find. The film tries to authentically depict single women with different backgrounds, experiences, and decisions towards marriage and relationships, reflecting a complex and ambiguous social environment.

Through the depiction of Chinese single women, the film can be recognised as a mirror that reflects on Chinese marriage cultures, which are primarily driven by men. From blind dates and matchmaking to the depictions of egg freezing, audiences can not only view the authentic marriage cultures in contemporary modern China, but also experience family, peer, and social pressures that Chinese women need to confront, especially those beyond the usual age of marriage.

Time: 10th May 2022 | Tuesday 19:30

London Venue: Picturehouse Fulham, 142 Fulham Rd., London SW10 9QR

Edinburgh Venue: Picturehouse Cameo, 38 Home St, Edinburgh EH3 9LZ

Book your tickets here.


Tracy Dong





Bonus Content

Q&A with Director Tracy Dong