Tuya's Marriage

Cultures Clash When Mongolian Herder Seeks a Spouse

Tuya's Marriage
Tuya (Yu Nan) is a hardworking and beautiful shepherdess who decides that to help her family survive she must divorce her husband and seek a new spouse who will care for her and her disabled husband, in this contemporary drama by Wang Quan An.
Review by Nick Schager, Slant Magazine
An ethnographic melodrama about the pressures facing contemporary Mongolians, Tuya's Marriage concerns the efforts of shepherd Tuya (Yu Nan) to find a new husband after she suffers a serious injury caused by labor strain that could potentially lead to paralysis. Given Tuya's beauty and impressive work ethic, she's soon inundated with suitors, yet the mother-of-two's devotion to her disabled husband, Bater (Bater), with whom she is determined to continue supporting even after finalizing their divorce, makes the process difficult. Chinese director Wang Quanan's film isn't particularly interested in surveying the historic customs and rituals of Inner Mongolians, but it does capture the backbreaking arduousness of their day-to-day life, which for Tuya involves herding her flock of sheep, lugging water 30 kilometers to her home from a half-finished well (the creation of which left Bater lame), and tending to her kids and incapacitated husband, all while contending with a friend named Senge (Senge) who's run ragged by his cheating wife and who not-so-secretly loves Tuya. In some of its characterizations and dilemmas (such as Tuya's attempt to make a go of it with a former classmate who callously ditches Bater at an urban nursing home), Tuya's Marriage can feel a tad overwritten, but in terms of its cultural and emotional portraits, the film's neo-realist authenticity is nonetheless striking. Much of this can be credited to the commanding Yu, whose wind-burned toughness and resoluteness are complemented by a burdensome combination of anger, loneliness, and sorrow. It's also, however, attributable to Wang's honest depiction of the struggles confronting Mongolians, a people who continue to survive thanks to a collective devotion to camaraderie and compassion, yet whose tradition-bound existence—slowly being suffocated into obsolescence by encroaching power lines, cities, and modern mores—is, as Tuya's exhausted marriage-day tears suggest, an increasingly grueling one to maintain.

Tuya's Marriage

Wed October 1, 2008, 7:00 & 9:00, Muenzinger Auditorium

China, in Mandarin, Color, 86 min, 1.85 : 1 • official site



10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

Thank you, sponsors!
Boulder International Film Festival
Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $60 at any IFS show. With the punch card you can see ten films (a value of $90).

Cox & Kjølseth
: Filmmaker Alex Cox & Pablo Kjølseth discuss film topics from their own unique perspectives.

: Pablo and Ana share Zoom-based briefs on what's currently playing at IFS

Search IFS schedules

Index of visiting artists

Tue Dec 5, 2023

Rare Exports

At Muenzinger Auditorium

Thu Dec 7, 2023

Princess Mononoke

At Muenzinger Auditorium

more on 35mm...