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Shot in the slums of Beijing and a remote village near the epicenter of Tibetan self-immolations, this gripping story of a woman determined to beat the odds puts a human face on the political strife that fractures China and Tibet.
Along the way it challenges common western stereotypes about Tibetans, and reveals a dark side of village life, where, as the saying goes, ‘women aren’t worth a penny.’
SYNOPSIS: Widowed at 28, Tibetan farmer Zanta defies her tyrannical father-in-law and refuses to marry his only surviving son, who is in prison for armed robbery. When Zanta’s in-laws won’t let her seven-year-old go to school, she flees to Beijing to become a street vendor. Destitute, and embattled by ethnic discrimination she inveigles a foreign customer into helping pay her boy’s school fees. When the three travel back to Zanta’s village for the New Year holiday, Zanta’s father-in-law takes her son hostage. The unwitting American journalist faces a tough decision: does she intervene in the violent family dispute, or watch in silence as Zanta and Yang Qing face abuses typically borne by Tibetan widows and their children.