Leftover Women

Three professional women are on a quest to find 'Mr. Right' before they are too old for the marriage market and Chinese society deems them ‘leftover’.

Chinese woman before wedding
Independent Lens
Premiere Date
February 10, 2020
90 minutes
Filmmaker Hilla Medalia

Hilla Medalia

(Producer/Director) Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and producer has received three Emmy® nominations. Her projects have garnered critical acclaim and screened internationally in theaters and on television including HBO, MTV, BBC and ARTE. Her range of titles include 'To Die in Jerusalem' 2007 (HBO), 'After the Storm' 2009 (MTV), 'Numbered' 2012 Show more (ARTE), 'Dancing in Jaffa' 2013(Tribeca, IFC Sundance selects), 'Web Junkie' 2014 (Sundance Film Festival, POV, BBC) and 'The Go Go Boys' 2014 (Cannes Film Festival), 'Censored Voices' 2015, (Sundance Film Festival and Berlinale), ‘Muhi - Generally Temporary’ 2017 (San Francisco FIlm Festival, Hot Docs) and ‘The Oslo Diaries’ 2018 (Sundance, HBO). Hilla is a board member of The Israeli Director's Guild and a member of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Hilla holds an M.A. from Southern Illinois University. Show less

Filmmaker Shosh Shlam

Shosh Shlam

(Director/Producer) of "Last Journey into Silence" (2003) that won best Documentary at the Lublin Film Festival. Her next film, “Be Fruitful and Multiply” (2005) broadcasted on channel 2 in Israel, ZDF and other European TV channels. “Good Garbage” (2008) won an award for Best Documentary at the Shanghai Film Festival in China, FICA Film Festival in Show more Brazil and "Web Junkie" that won best Documentary Honorable Mention at the Jerusalem Film Festival. Won the best documentary in TRT Turkey. Premiered in Sundance Film Festival (2014) and was theatrically released in NY, LA and Toronto. Broadcasted on the BBC, ARTE, PBS and on many other TV stations. Shosh holds an MA in Comparative Literature from Bar Ilan University. She also graduated from the Theatre Department at Tel Aviv University, and studied at New York’s School of Visual Arts. Show less

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The Film

Leftover Women follows three successful women -- Qiu Hua Mei, a lawyer; Xu Min, who works in public radio; and Gai Qi, an assistant college professor-- who, despite thriving careers, are labeled "leftover women," or sheng nu, a derogatory term for educated, professional women in their mid-20s and '30s who are not married. With 30 million more men than women in China, a severe demographic imbalance resulting from the One Child Policy, social stability is under threat. As single women search for “Mr. Right,” they struggle to stay true to their personal and professional ambitions amid pressure from their families, friends, and a government that launched a state-sponsored campaign to stigmatize unwed women. Xu Min’s parents spend their weekends at "marriage markets" looking for viable candidates. The eldest of the three women, Gai Qi challenges traditional views of relationships and marriage, and faces disapproval from a partner’s parents because of her age. Meanwhile, lawyer Qiu Hua Mei was the first in her village to get an education, yet her family sees her as a failure, and her pursuit of a partner seem futile after a crushing interview with a dating counselor who suggests she lower her standards.