When: September 5, 2008 (Friday, 6:00 pm)
Where: Chinese Culture Center, 750 Kearny St, 3rd Floor, San Francisco
Admission: $5 public, $3 member
The Chinese Culture Center is pleased to present “Colonel Jin Xing: A Unique Destiny” 上尉金星 (2001). The film will be played in English.
Co-presenters: GAPA(Gay Asian Pacific Alliance), APIQWTC(Asian Pacific Islander Queer Women & Transgender Community), ON Magazine, QWOCMAP(Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project).
Shanghai’s principal dancer, 33-year-old Jin Xing, is a big star. She is the first choreographer to have received recognition in over half a century of national communism. But the most amazing thing about Jin Xing is that, up until 1995, this beautiful young woman was a man, a colonel in the People’s Liberation Army. Despite Jin Xing’s transcendence in the dance world, however, she is still up against the Chinese bureaucracy which refuses to give her permission to perform on the stages of the Western world.
To read an article on Colonel Jin Xing and her incredible life, click here.
For more information about C4, and a listing of the entire year’s program, visit our 2008 Film Series page.
Chinese Culture Center Review of “Colonel Jin Xing: A Unique Destiny”
by Sara Long
Colonel Jin Xing: China’s Most Emblematic Transsexual is not what you would expect. It isn’t the sex change, military childhood, single parent adoption, or sensuous performances that will catch you off guard. What will surprise you is the singular lack of tragedy or despair in Jin Xing’s remarkable life.
When I hear the phrase “first sex change operation in China”, I think of hardship and the multitude of troubles that come with being any kind of pioneer, especially when it relates to gender and society. Indeed, there were bumps in the road for Jin Xing, and the documentary does chronicle her family’s initial confusion and her tearful departure from her mother as she is driven to the hospital to undergo surgery. However, these moments seem only to be a small part of Jin Xing’s life, and overall the film is a celebration of passion, freedom, and excitement. More importantly, it is also a film about acceptance – although several people interviewed admitted they did not understand why Jin Xing wanted to become a woman, everyone had something glowing to say about her.
In fact, if I had to find a fault with this film, I would be tempted to call it over optimistic, a little too positive. The documentary only lightly touches on the fact that Jin Xing does not meet her father at his house, but only ‘on neutral ground’, out of concern for his government career. A former teacher of hers sugar coats his satisfaction at her not publically shaking hands with him by claiming that he hadn’t been ready for her metamorphosis yet. These negative reactions to Jin Xing are few, scattered, and quickly brushed over by the documentary. Even so, I imagine that if I were the filmmaker, I would have done the same thing. It is hard to imagine putting together a sad piece of work when Jin Xing herself is so upbeat and full of life.
If I were to describe Colonel Jin Xing: China’s Most Emblematic Transsexual in cheap Hollywood terms, I would call it a “feel good” movie. Jin Xing’s parents are confused, but still love and support her. She wants to raise a child, and her mother finds her a beautiful baby boy. She was once China’s most renowned male dancer, now she is China’s most renowned female dancer. She is a hardworking professional, a mother, a business owner, even an action movie star. I would like to say something else cheesy, like it is a story about the “power of hope”, but it isn’t. Jin Xing doesn’t need hope. She just needs to be herself, and wonderful things will follow.