Old Well

Director: Wu Tianming
Screenwriters: Zheng Yi

Institute History

  • 1992 Sundance Film Festival


Old Well is a village located deep in the Taihang Mountains. There are endless stones here, but no water. Over the generations the people of the village have dug 127 wells, but they have all been dry. Their greatest hope is that one day they will find water on their own land. To realize this dream, Sun Wangquan (Zhang Yimou), an educated youth who has returned to his home village, determines to use his knowledge to dig a well to find water. His family is very poor; it consists of five men, all of whom are single. To reach his goal and to help his brothers get married, he himself marries Duan Xifeng (Lu Liping), a young widow, and sacrifices his real love for Zhao Qiaoying (Liang Yujin). Guided by Sun Wangquan, the villagers finally succeed in digging a well that brings them water.

Old Well marks the first time director Wu Tianming and Zhang Yimou have worked together. Zhang Yimou was one of the two cinematographers on this film, as well as its star.

— David Alberico

Screening Details


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