Girl Basketball Player No. 5–Film Script

Tr. by Tim McCahill and Tom Moran[1]

MCLC Resource Center Publication (December 2005)


Synopsis: In the 1930s Tian Zhenhua and his friend Lao Meng were players for a Shanghai basketball team owned by Boss Lin. Tian and Lin’s daughter, Lin Jie, also a basketball player, were in love, but Boss Lin drove them apart. Lin Jie married an associate of her father’s but then left him, taking her daughter with her. In the mid-1950s Tian Zhenhua is the coach of a Shanghai girls’ basketball team. His star player, Lin Xiaojie, who has just graduated from high school, needs to learn lessons about teamwork and the patriotic value of athletics. Tian wonders if Lin Xiaojie might be the daughter of his lost love, Lin Jie.

A car arrives at the Shanghai Athletic Center. Coach Tian gets out. Sign: National Ball Sports Competition, Shanghai Athletes Registration Area. Coach Tian enters a crowded lobby.  Lao Meng is doing paperwork at a table surrounded by people.

Wang Aizhu: Comrade Lao Meng! Comrade Lao Meng! Where is the girls’ basketball team staying?

Lao Meng: Go ask your team captain. Everything’s all set.

Coach Tian [off screen]: Lao Meng!

Lao Meng [without looking up]: Just a second. [looks up, sees Tian] Oh!

Lao Meng [to Tian]: We’ve been waiting and waiting, where’ve you been? What took you so long?


Coach Tian: The Southwest Army team wouldn’t let me go. You look good. How’s work?

Lao Meng: Same old same old. I’m still doing everything around here. You by yourself? Oh, I see, still a bachelor, eh?

The crowd calls out questions to Lao Meng.

Lao Meng: Okay, okay. I’m coming. [to Tian Zhenhua] After I get things squared away, I’ll come get you.

Coach Tian: Go do what you need to do.

Lao Meng: What about your luggage?

Coach Tian: It’s at reception.

Lao Meng: I’ll have someone get it for you. [to the people calling him] I’m coming, I’m coming.

Cut to Lao Meng and Tian Zhenhua walking up a flight of stairs.

Coach Tian [handing Lao Meng a bottle]: This is genuine Lüzhou wine. For you.

Lao Meng: But I was going to give up alcohol.

Coach Tian: You can quit after you’ve had this.

The basketball players run up the stairs giggling and enter the room they share. In the girls’ room:

Tang Shibao: Hey, listen up, our coach is here.

Cao Xiaodi: Yes, it’s him alright. He’s moving in.

Cut to Tian’s room. Coach Tian unpacks a houseplant—an orchid—he has brought.

Lao Meng: The room has been ready for a few days—just waiting for you to move in. . . . . [looking through Tian’s duffel bag]. It is time for you to get married. . . . Stay single and it’s going to start to get in the way of your work.

Coach Tian: Think the girls will accept me as their coach? [he takes the orchid to the bathroom to water it]

Lao Meng: These girls aren’t so easy to handle. There isn’t a one of them who isn’t a little mischievous.

The young women have gathered by a glass door to Tian’s room and are peeking in at Tian and Meng. Meng walks over.

Lao Meng [to the young women]: Go assemble on the court. Your new coach is here! [the girls exit]

Coach Tian [to Meng]: So that’s the team?

Lao Meng: Yes. They seem happy to have you here. . . . You can’t be too strict with them—you can’t do “Shaolin kungfu” with them like you did with the guys on the Army team. Girls are touchy. You’ve got to dance your way around them—you’ve got to do Taijiquan with them.

On the basketball court (an outdoors court).

Lao Meng [to the team]: You all know that Tian Zhenhua is a former athlete. He’s out of the military now and has left the Southwest Army team to come to Shanghai. . . . He has more than ten years’ experience as a basketball coach. [Tian whispers to Lao Meng] But he hasn’t coached girls before. . . . This is his very first time coaching girls. . . . The national competition is right around the corner. So listen to Coach Tian and work hard. . . . No goofing around, okay? . . . [to Tian] They are all yours.

Coach Tian [to the team, which has applauded him]: I had what I wanted to say all worked out, but your applause has made me forget it. There really isn’t much to be said. Let’s start by getting to know one another. . . . [he calls the roll] Zhu Aiping?


Zhu Aiping: Yo!

Lao Meng: She’s the captain.

Coach Tian calls off the names of Wang Aizhu, Tang Shibao, Xu Zhenzhen, Wang Simei, Li Xiuqinq, Song Minzhang, Yang Suqin, Chen Zhifang, and Cao Xiaodi.

Coach Tian [to Cao Xiaodi]: What’s your home team?

Cao Xiaodi: No. 3 Girls’ High School team.

Coach Tian: Lin . . . Lin Xiaojie . . . [he pauses]

Zhu Aiping: She just finished her graduation exams yesterday. She’s not here yet.

Cut to the reception hall of the Athletic Center, Lin Xiaojie is being measured.

Official: Lin Xiaojie, 1 meter and seventy- . . . seventy-eight centimeters (5′ 9 æ”)! [Lin Xiaojie smiles]

Lin Xiaojie [to her boyfriend, Tao Kai, who is carrying her things]: Let’s go.

On the basketball court. The team is playing. Lin Xiaojie and Tao Kai walk up. Tao Kai drops a thermos, which makes the team turn and look.

Cao Xiaodi and Zhu Aiping [running over]: Xiao Lin [Little Lin]! Xiao Lin! There you are.

Lin Xiaojie: Hi, captain!

Cao Xiaodi: Let’s go. . . . I’ll help carry your stuff [takes Lin’s bedroll from Tao]

Lin Xiaojie [picking up her suitcase as Zhu does too]: I’ll get it.

Zhu Aiping [to Tian]: Coach, this is Lin Xiaojie. . . . [to Lin Xiaojie] This is the new coach, Coach Tian.

Lin Xiaojie: Hello, Coach Tian.


Tao Kai: Where is this stuff going?

Cao Xiaodi: Come with me! Let’s go. . . [to Lin Xiaojie as they walk away] He is the really famous coach of the Southwest Army team.

Lao Meng [to Tian Zhenhua, as Lin Xiaojie walks away]: She’s cut out to be a basketball player.

In the women’s dormitory room.

Cao Xiaodi [to Tao Kai]: Help her unpack. I’ll see you later.

Lin Xiaojie: Tao, come here. Get this accordion off the bunk. [Tao puts the accordion on the floor. They unroll Lin’s bedroll on the lower bunk of a bunk bed]

Tao Kai [finding books Lin has brought]: So you’ve brought a lot books. Come on, how are you going to get any studying done here? If your mom knew you were playing ball again, there would be trouble.

Lin Xiaojie: My mom isn’t like you—she doesn’t grumble about it all day long. . . . I told you, after the games are over, I am going to take the exam for college. No question. [hands him something] Here you go, candy from Suzhou.


The other members of the team enter.

Girls: Candy from Suzhou! Yum. [they help themselves]

Wang Aizhu: [noticing her accordion has been taken off her lower bunk bed and placed on the floor] Who did this?

Lin Xiaojie: Oh, sorry, it was me!

Wang Aizhu [as Lin Xiaojie picks the accordion up off the floor]: Put that down! . . . This is my bed!

Lin Xiaojie: What?

Wang Aizhu: It is my bed!

Lin Xiaojie: Yours?

Wang Aizhu: Of course!

Lin Xiaojie: Your name isn’t on it.

Wang Aizhu: You didn’t see this huge accordion on it!?

Lin Xiaojie: I don’t like it hot [the top bunk is hot]. I’m sleeping down here [on the lower bed].

Wang Aizhu: You don’t like it too hot? Well, who doesn’t prefer it cool?

Zhu Aiping: Don’t argue. You just got here, you shouldn’t be arguing.

Wang Aizhu: I didn’t start it.

Lin Xiaojie: I suppose it was me?

Zhu Aiping: Okay, cut it out. [to Lin Xiaojie] You can have my top bunk [the top bunk of the bed by which Lin is standing; it is by a window].

Lin Xiaojie: I don’t want it.

Zhu Aiping: Look, you don’t like it too hot, right? With the window open, this top bunk is cool. [to Cao Xiaodi] Xiaodi, come help me. [Zhu and Cao move bedding, giving Lin Xiaojie the bunk by the window]

Tang Shibao: Who cares where you sleep? It’s all the same.

Lin Xiaojie on the top bunk spreads out the bedding with loud, annoyed slaps.

Zhu Aiping: Xiao Lin, Xiao Lin, stop it!

Lin Xiaojie [lying on the bunk, picks up a toy puppet she has brought, pouts, smiles, and says to the puppet]: It’s all your fault.


Cut to Lao Meng and Tian Zhenhua outside at a water station with a concrete sink and a container of drinking water.

Lao Meng: I’ll be on my way. The girls are all yours. I’m going to the Workers Team. I’m their coach.

Coach Tian: So, when will we have a practice game with your girls?

Lao Meng: Fix a date and let me know. I have to go.

Lin Xiaojie on the court shooting baskets. Tian joins her.

Lin Xiaojie: Hi, Coach Tian!

Coach Tian: Good shot! . . . How long have you been on the Student Federation team?

Lin Xiaojie: Three years.

Coach Tian: Have you liked sports since you were a kid?

Lin Xiaojie: I was the team captain all through high school! Now I’m the Student Federation team’s captain.


Coach Tian: Anybody else in your family ball play?

Lin Xiaojie: My family? They’re against me playing basketball!

In the dormitory, the girls straighten and clean Coach Tian’s room to surprise him.

Wang Simei [indicating the objects on Tian’s desk, which she is dusting]: Move this stuff out of the way, okay? . . . . [to a teammate carrying Tian’s orchid] Put that over there!

Li Xiuqinq: [lying on the bed, goofing off, smiling, and affecting an officious tone] Ladies, look at all of you working so hard!

Zhu Aiping: Quiet down. . . . Hurry up, comrades!

Coach Tian and Lin Xiaojie walk down the hallway and enter Tian’s room. The girls shout, “Welcome Coach Tian!”

Zhu Aiping: What do you think, coach?

Coach Tian: I just can’t thank you all enough.

Tang Shibao [comes out of the bathroom carrying a washboard, to the girls]: Whose is this?

Coach Tian: It’s mine.

Tang Shibao: Yours? . . . What do you do with it?

Coach Tian: Wash my clothes, of course!

Tang Shibao: I know it’s for washing clothes! You wash your clothes yourself?

Coach Tian: You don’t wash your own clothes?

Cao Xiaodi: But you’re a man!

Coach Tian: After all these years, I’m used to it. When I have the time, I wash my own clothes.

Lin Xiaojie: Coach Tian, what about at home?

Coach Tian: At home? This is my home!

Cao Xiaodi: Coach, you mean you’re not married yet!?

Zhu Aiping: What are you thinking, asking such a question?

Lin Xiaojie [discovering a container full of little bobble dolls]: Hey! Come take a look at these, you guys! How fun! . . . Coach, you play with these things?

Coach Tian [unfolds a board with a diagram of a basketball court on it and puts it on his desk, then arranges the dolls on the board to represent players]: This is our Shanghai team. We advance down the court like this. . . . We are going to play with these dolls a lot.

Tang Shibao [picking up one of the dolls]: This one looks like Lin Xiaojie!


A bell rings.

Girls: Time to eat! Let’s go eat! [they exit]

Lin Xiaojie [hanging back and picking up the doll that Tang Shibao said looks like her]: Coach, do you have only one like this?

Coach Tian: Why?

Lin Xiaojie: Nothing. Let’s go eat!

The next morning on the basketball court. The young women line up. Cao Xiaodi and Lin Xiaojie run up late and push their way into line.

Coach Tian: Hello, comrades!

Girls: Hello, coach!

Zhu Aiping: Sir, all twelve team members present and accounted for.

Coach Tian: Two were late. [to Cao Xiaodi, who is eating something] Next time, finish eating before you come to practice. [to all] At ease. We need to step up our training to get ready for nationals. We are going to stress fundamentals and fitness first, because your overall conditioning isn’t great. [to Cao Xiaodi and Lin Xiaojie] What kind of shape are you two in?

Cao Xiaodi: I’m in excellent shape!

Coach Tian: You?

Lin Xiaojie: Pretty good.

The girls run laps around the court and do drills.

Coach Tian [blows a whistle]: Take a break.


Cao Xiaodi [to Lin Xiaojie as the girls gather around the water station]: He’s so mean. And even after we cleaned his room.

Coach Tian [to Cao, who has a cup of water]: No water!

Cao [gargling]: I’m not swallowing it. [she swallows when Tian isn’t looking]

Wang Aizhu: Can we drink just a little, please?

Coach Tian: It tastes good when you drink, but it’s bad for your heart [to drink water in the middle of a workout]. How can you go easy on yourself and expect to compete for the gold?

Xu Zhenzhen [she is sitting on a basketball]: I don’t think I’m good enough to win a medal.

Coach Tian: Don’t sit on the ball.

Wang Simei: You are mistaking us for a men’s team.

Tang Shibao: Hey, don’t forget, the sexes are equal!

Xu Zhenzhen: We’re not like you. You’re a bull. [Tang and Xu fight playfully]

Coach Tian: If the training is too hard, we can cut back. But no water, that’s the same for men and women.

Tang Shibao: Hear that? That’s right!

Postman [arriving with mail]: Lin Xiaojie! Here’s a letter for you. [she takes it and reads]

Zhu Aiping [as the others are heading back to the court]: Xiao Lin! Hurry up.

Tian Zhenhua’s room. Lin Xiaojie enters. Coach Tian is in the bathroom washing clothes.

Lin Xiaojie: Coach?

Coach Tian: Yeah, what’s up? Hang on a second.

Lin Xiaojie [noticing Tian’s orchid, gives it a little water]: Do you put this flower outside every day to give it a little sun?

Coach Tian: Yes, every day.

Lin Xiaojie: It’s dry.

Coach Tian: You like orchids?

Lin Xiaojie: My mom likes that kind of flower. She’d never let this dry out. The roots of orchids are sweet. Ants eat them.. . . . . . Oh, coach? I wanted to see you about something. I need to make a trip home to Suzhou.


Coach Tian: Why?

Lin Xiaojie: I had a letter from home saying I shouldn’t be here playing ball.

Coach Tian: Why not?

Lin Xiaojie: I need to take the college entrance exams this summer. Mom wants me to return home to study.

Coach Tian: Did you tell her that you are getting ready for a national competition?

Lin Xiaojie: That won’t help. She doesn’t want me playing basketball.

Coach Tian: You’ve got the physical tools to make a good basketball player. Yesterday Zhu Aiping said your school is going to get you placed into a sports academy.

Lin Xiaojie: I wouldn’t want to go to a sports academy.

Coach Tian: You wouldn’t? Why not?

Lin Xiaojie: I love playing basketball, but I’m not going to go to a sports academy and play ball my whole life.

Coach Tian: Why not?

Lin Xiaojie: Because I’m not a bad student who can’t get into college.

Coach Tian: What? Are you saying sports academies are only for bad students?

Lin Xiaojie: Well, they are sports academies, after all. You just play ball every day, schoolwork doesn’t matter.

Coach Tian: Who told you that?

Lin Xiaojie: Everybody says so.

Coach Tian: Your mother doesn’t agree with you playing sports. What about your dad?

Lin Xiaojie: Don’t bring up my dad. I have only my mother. . . . So, coach, can I?

Coach Tian: Okay, go on home. After all, you know how significant the upcoming competition is. Go back and have a good talk about it with your mom.

Lin Xiaojie: Okay, I’ll leave at noon. [she exits]

Coach Tian sits alone, the orchid in front of him, and hears Lin Xiaojie’s voice in his head [in voiceover]: “My mom likes that kind of flower”. . . “I have only my mother.”

Coach Tian [in voiceover]: Number five? Lin Xiaojie? Can it be that she is her daughter?

Dissolve to a flashback. A late 1930s basketball arena. Tian stands by the court and watches Lin Jie and her team play basketball. She wears No. 5. Lao Meng joins Tian. They both wear the uniform of the East China team. Boss Lin (Lin Jie’s father) walks up behind them.

Boss Lin [to Tian Zhenhua and Lao Meng]: Okay, get ready, almost time for you to take the court!

Lin Jie misses a lay-up. She stops, looks to Tian. He mimes a correction to her shooting motion. The “Young Gentleman,” who is Boss Lin’s employee and Lin Jie’s suitor, also watches the game.


Still in flashback to the late 1930s. The garret apartment of Tian Zhenhua and Lao Meng. Lao Meng lies in the top bunk of a bunk bed.

Lin Jie [off screen]: Tian Zhenhua! Tian Zhenhua! [Lin Jie is at the foot of the stairs to the apartment; she stumbles] Oh no! [she picks up the orchid she has dropped]

Tian Zhenhua [turning on the light and coming down the stairs]: What’s your rush? Wait until I turn on the light. Did you just get off the train? [they climb the stairs and enter the apartment; Tian, indicating the orchid, says] Did you bring that from Suzhou?

Lao Meng [lying in his bunk, to Lin Jie]: That’s the third time you’ve tripped on the stairs.

Lin Jie [to Lao Meng]: What are you doing in bed in the middle of the day?

Lao Meng: I’ve got nothing to do during the day. Let me sleep.

Lin Jie [to the men]: I mean, really, do you think the fans would believe that famous basketball players like you two would be living in this kind of a place?!

Lao Meng: Famous basketball players? In your father’s eyes, we’re just commodities he owns.

Lin Jie [to Tian, out of Lao Meng’s hearing]: Has he been drinking again? [Tian nods yes; she takes the orchid from Tian] Here, let me. I’ll put it on the windowsill. It can get some water from the dew.


Tian Zhenhua: How was Suzhou?

Lin Jie: I am not moving to Hankou with my dad.

Tian Zhenhua: So you . . .

Lin Jie: I’m going to stay with my grandmother in Suzhou. That way I can go to school in Shanghai . . . and be with you.

Still in flashback to the late 1930s. Dissolve to a basketball arena and Boss Lin’s face. A game is in progress between the East China team and a team of foreign sailors. The scoreboard shows East China 20, Sailors 12. There are foreigners in the crowd. Lin Jie is in the stands. Boss Lin watches from the sidelines. Two foreigners are restless because the Chinese team is winning. They whisper to a Chinese man in a fedora. He gets up, goes to Boss Lin and hands him a piece of paper. It is a check for $500.00. Boss Lin exchanges a word with the man, then puts the check in his pocket.


Tian Zhenhua [in voiceover]: I will never forget that game. We played very well in the first half, but then the boss sold us out. . . . He told us to lose.

Still flashback. In the locker room at halftime, Tian and his teammates are angry. In the second half Tian Zhenhua and his teammates slow the ball down, play poorly, and the foreign team takes the lead. The foreigners in the crowd are happy. The Chinese fans yell encouragement. Tian calls time out and calls his teammates over.

Tian Zhenhua: We can’t lose! We have to win!


Still flashback. Tian Zhenhua leads a comeback, shakes off a deliberate hard foul, and makes a basket at the final buzzer to give the Chinese team a one-point victory. Boss Lin speaks to the man in the fedora. Boss Lin exits. The man in the fedora speaks to a thug in a leather jacket. After the game in an alley outside the arena Lao Meng and Tian Zhenhua say goodbye to Lin Jie. Lin Jie exits.

Lao Meng [to Tian]: Ready? Let’s go.

Thug [appearing in the alley and blocking Tian’s way]: You enjoyed the game, huh? [he punches Tian, knocking him down, then says to his men] Beat him!

The thugs beat and kick Meng and Tian, who ends up on the ground, his face bloodied. Lin Jie runs toward him down the alley. Dissolve to a hospital. Lin Jie talks to a doctor at Tian Zhenhua’s bedside.


Lin Jie: It’s certain that he’ll need an operation, isn’t it?

Doctor: He’s hurt pretty badly. You go pay and do the paperwork.

Lin Jie: Doctor, about the fee, . . . can I pay later, in installments?

Doctor: That’s not my department.

Still flashback. At the desk in the hospital. Lin Jie places a few bills and her jewelry on the counter. The clerk shakes his head. She takes something out of her purse, unwraps it and places it on the desk. It is a medal [which Tian Zhenhua won at an international competition and gave to Lin Jie as a token of his love]. The clerk indicates he’ll accept this.


Lin Jie: Take this for now. After the operation, I’ll think of something.

Young Gentleman [YG] [appearing behind Lin Jie and speaking to her]: He’s hurt badly, isn’t he?

Clerk [to Lin Jie]: This is the release form for the operation. If something unexpected happens, the hospital cannot be held accountable. Please sign here. . . . . [sends a challenging look at Lin Jie] It has to be signed by a direct relation.

Lin Jie [pausing, then lying]: I’m his wife!

Lin Jie exits. YG stays behind and notices the medal.  He looks at it and has a thought. Cut to Tian Zhenhua’s hospital room. Boss Lin is by Tian’s bedside. Boss Lin has the medal. He hands it to Tian.

Tian Zhenhua: Is this the way she wants it to be?

Boss Lin: Yes. . . . And here’s five hundred dollars. It’s from her dowry, and it’s to help you out. We know you are in a tough spot. [Boss Lin is lying about everything; Tian refuses the check; Boss Lin drops it on his lap]

Tian [taking off the ring that was given to him by Lin Jie; he hands the ring and the check to Boss Lin]: Please give these back to Lin Jie. I don’t want to stand in the way of her future.

Dissolve to Coach Tian in his room in the narrative present.

Coach Tian [in voiceover]: Lin Jie never came to see me. To this day I don’t understand why she had her father give me back the most important keepsake I ever gave her.

Lin Xiaojie enters.

Lin Xiaojie: Coach, I’ll be on my way. I’ll hurry back tomorrow morning. Bye.

Coach Tian: Do you have enough for the train ticket?

Lin Xiaojie: Yes. Bye!

In Suzhou at Lin Jie’s home; mother and daughter talk. Lin Jie is watering an orchid.

Lin Xiaojie: This isn’t like my basketball in the past. This time we’re representing Shanghai in a national competition. They are going pick the national team in Beijing. If we make it, we’ll go overseas.

Lin Jie: So that means you aren’t going to take the college entrance exam?

Lin Xiaojie: Of course I will.

Lin Jie: But didn’t you just tell me that your school wants to send you to a sports academy?

Lin Xiaojie: Yeah, but I didn’t agree to it.

Lin Jie: I’m glad you didn’t. . . . Just get down to work studying for the exams, okay?

Lin Xiaojie: Mom, don’t worry. I’ll go back and have a good talk about it with Coach Tian. I’m sure he’ll agree. . . . Oh, mom, I forgot to tell you, we have a new coach. He is a good guy. It was him who said I should come home and talk to you.

Lin Jie: He told you to come home? What’s his last name?

Lin Xiaojie: I just told you, his last name is Tian.

Lin Jie: His last name is Tian? How old is he?

Lin Xiaojie: He says he is forty, but he doesn’t look forty.

Lin Jie: He said you should come home? What’s his full name?

Lin Xiaojie: His name’s Tian Zhenhua. I hear he used to play basketball in Shanghai. [not noticing her mother is shocked] Mom, you’re always worrying about me. You always treat me like I’m a little kid. But actually . . . [Lin Jie walks away in a daze] Mom, what are you doing?

Lin Jie: I . . . I’m just seeing if the food is ready.

Night. Lin Jie can’t sleep. She gets out of bed, goes to her desk, and looks through old photographs of herself and Tian Zhenhua in their basketball playing days. She thinks about what her daughter said. She hears her daughter’s voice [in voiceover]:  “His name’s Tian Zhenhua. I hear he used to play basketball in Shanghai.”

Lin Jie [in voiceover]: It has been eighteen years. . . Where did you go? After you got hurt, why did you just leave me like that, without saying anything? Why did you return my ring all of a sudden?

Flashback. Dissolve to Boss Lin’s house in the late 1930s. He and the Young Gentleman are talking to Lin Jie. She is looking at her ring (returned by Tian).

Boss Lin [to his daughter]: I paid Tian’s bill at the hospital. You’ve done right by him, but I can’t see that he cares anything about you. He’s just a basketball player, what does he understand about love? He’s trash. Did you hear what I said? You’re leaving with me tomorrow! And you’re not allowed to go out! [Lin Jie rushes out despite her father’s order]

YG: Let her go.

Still in flashback. Lin Jie goes to the hospital and Tian Zhenhua’s apartment to look for him but does not find him.

Lin Jie [in voiceover]: Dad was ready to take me to Hankou, and you disappeared!

Still in flashback. A steamship leaves from Shanghai [Hankou is up river from Shanghai]. YG and Lin Jie are together on deck. Cut to a wedding photograph of Lin Jie and YG. Cut to Lin Jie and YG with a baby at home.

YG [angry at Lin Jie and a little drunk]: I pay for your food, your clothes, your house. What do you do for me? . . . What’s the matter? Thinking about that basketball player again? [He throws a cigarette at her; it hits her in the face; Lin Jie picks up the baby and leaves. Cut to Lin Jie, her baby in her arms, in an alley in the rain]


Note: in the VCD version, as Lin Jie walks in the rain with her baby, she says in voiceover: “I can’t take his abuse anymore. What am I to do? I’ll to go to Suzhou and teach. Yes. I will live on my own. I will raise my child on my own.” These lines are not in the DVD version.

Flashback ends. Dissolve to Lin Jie at her desk at home in Suzhou in the narrative present.

Lin Xiaojie [looks over her mother’s shoulder at a photograph of her mother in her basketball uniform]: Mom! You used to be an athlete?! Let me see!

Lin Jie: No, don’t look at it. That’s all in the past now.

Lin Xiaojie: Mom – how come you never told me?

Fade to black, then fade in on Coach Tian in the lobby of the sports center looking at a photograph of Lin Xiaojie and her mother. Lin Xiaojie is with him and has given him the photograph.

Lin Xiaojie: So, I think I should listen to my mom and apply for a regular university.

Coach Tian: What else did she say?

Lin Xiaojie: She didn’t say much else. Oh yes! She told me to say hello to you.

Cut to outside on the basketball court.

Tao Kai [yelling for Lin Xiaojie]: Xiao Lin! Xiao Lin!

In the lobby.

Lin Xiaojie [hears Tao Kai]: Coach, I have to go.

Tao Kai and Lin Jie talk outside a door to the sports center as athletes come and go in the background.

Tao Kai: You don’t write, you don’t call. . . . Are you going to take the exam for college or not?

Lin Xiaojie: Who says I’m not?

Tao Kai: Sure doesn’t look like you’re going take it.

Lin Xiaojie: Oh yeah? You can tell that by looking at me?

Tao Kai: Well, here’s the college exam registration form. And here are some literature texts that I found for you, and my study notes. I underlined the important stuff, and the real important stuff I’ve circled in red. . . . See?

Lin Xiaojie: I see, I see. I’ll find time to look at this for sure. Even Sunday, which is my birthday, I won’t go out. I’ll stay in and study.

Tao Kai: Your birthday?! I almost forgot! You should take the day off.

Lin Xiaojie: And do what?

Tao Kai: Come over to my house to celebrate.

At the Tao home. Tao Kai is in the living room. His mother is in the kitchen cooking.

Tao Kai: Mom! Make sure you do a good job with the soup.

Mrs. Tao: I know! I know! You’re driving me crazy today!

Tao Kai: And – don’t use too much vinegar!

Mrs. Tao: I know!

In the girls’ dorm room. The team is gathered around a table. On the table is Coach Tian’s board with the basketball court diagram. The bobble dolls are on the board, and Lin Xiaojie is talking about a play. Coach Tian listens.

Lin Xiaojie: I’ll take the ball and give it to you. Don’t pass it back to me. Pass it to Wang Simei. And then, Wang Simei, pass the ball to the captain. Then she can take it up the court. The other team will definitely go after her. And where will I be? I’ll be right here! Don’t forgot to set a pick for me. Then pass it to me. And I’ll make the shot. [As she talks, Coach Tian and Zhu Aiping exchange a disapproving glance.]

Cao Xiaodi: She shoots and scores!

Tang Shibao: That play again?!

Lin Xiaojie: I can make that shot no problem.

Cao Xiaodi: That’s right. We should let Xiao Lin shoot.

Wang Aizhu: I can set a pick for you, but you never get back on defense!

Lin Xiaojie: Don’t worry about defense.

Tang Shibao: What do mean “don’t worry about defense”? You never get back on defense. You always just stand there. So we’re always letting people get behind us on a fast break.

Lin Xiaojie: When we’re playing against the Workers Team, defense doesn’t matter. They’re really weak on offense.

Zhu Aiping: Don’t underestimate them.

Tang Shibao: Wang Aizhu is better at defense than you.

Lin Xiaojie: But she doesn’t shoot well.

Zhu Aiping: Comrades, comrades! Let’s hear what coach has to say.

Coach Tian: [he looks down at his clipboard, on which are written the names of his planned starting five; beside Lin Xiaojie’s name he adds a question mark] This Sunday is our first practice game. The most important thing is to work on strategy. We aren’t so strong on defense, and so defense is what we need to practice most. Okay, here’s the starting lineup: Zhu Aiping at center; the guards are Tang Shibao and Xu Zhenzhen. At right forward, Wang Simei, and at left forward, Wang Aizhu. [Lin Xiaojie pouts because she is not starting] The rest of you be ready to go in. Okay, let’s go over the game plan.

At the Tao home Tao Kai places a call to the team’s quarters. In the hallway, Lin Xiaojie answers the phone.

Lin Xiaojie: This is Lin Xiaojie. . . We don’t know if there is going to be a game tonight yet. [as Lin talks, the camera pans to show a blackboard with a message on it: “Notice: Because of a situation with the location for today’s basketball game, it is as yet uncertain as to whether the game will take place. All team members should gather at 5:30 for an announcement—the Captain.] . . . I think it’s best that I not come.

Tao Kai [on the phone]: Look – it your birthday party, you’ve got to come. My mom did the cooking herself, she’s made a lot. My dad and mom both really want to see you. They look forward to your coming!

Mrs. Tao [to Tao Kai]: Your dad didn’t say anything about wanting to see her! He won’t be home for dinner tonight anyway.

Tao Kai [on the phone, to Lin Xiaojie]: The game is not until 7:30. There is plenty of time.

Lin Xiaojie: Well, okay, then.

Lin Xiaojie at a desk in the dorm room. She writes a note and leaves it on the desk. She leaves. A breeze blows the note from the desk to the floor. Wang Aizhu enters, finds the note and reads it. It reads, “Captain: I’ve left to take care of a pressing matter. If the game tonight is on, please call the phone number below to tell me—Xiaojie.” Wang puts the note back on the table, then picks it up and drops it on the floor. Then kicks it under the bed. The other team members enter.

Zhu Aiping: Ladies! Ladies! Listen up! Tonight’s game is on. Coach wants to leave a little early and go check out the arena. Everybody get ready.

In the washroom, Tang Shibao and Cao Xiaodi stand together next to the sink, washing up.

Tang Shibao: Xiao Lin’s still not back yet? I bet you anything she went to see her little lover again.

Cao Xiaodi: She told me that she wasn’t going to go out this afternoon.

Tang Shibao: She lied to you. You follow her around all day, if she didn’t ditch you how could she ever keep a date with her boyfriend, you dummy! [she splashes water on Cao Xiaodi, and the two run out of the room laughing.]

In the girls’ room.

Zhu Aiping: It’s almost time to go! Get ready, get ready!

Cao Xiaodi: I’m afraid Xiao Lin’s going to be late.

Zhu Aiping: What the heck is her problem? So careless!

Wang Aizhu picks up the note with the phone number from beneath the bed, puts it in her pocket and goes out to the hallway phone. She is thinking about relenting and calling Lin Xiaojie to tell her the game is on. Cao Xiaodi and Zhu Aiping walk by.

Cao Xiaodi: I don’t know that guy Tao’s phone number.

Zhu Aiping [to Wang Aizhu]: Do you know where Xiao Lin went off to?

Wang Aizhu: I don’t know. [Wang does not place the call]

At the Tao home. Tao Kai, his mother, and Lin Xiaojie are talking.

Mrs. Tao: I saw you playing basketball earlier this year. Tao Kai took me. You played really well! Such a tall basket with such a small hoop, how could you make so many baskets in row? It’s just like acrobatics, it takes real skill!

Tao Kai: Athletics isn’t the same as acrobatics. Athletics truly improves one’s physical fitness.

Mrs. Tao: Son, I never exercise—and I am very fit. [as the chubby Mrs. Tao says this, Lin Xiaojie puts her hand over her mouth to hide her smile]

Outside the sports center. Coach Tian stands by a bus as the team boards.

Coach Tian: Hurry, hurry!

Cao Xiaodi: Xiao Lin isn’t here yet.

Coach Tian: Where’d she go?

Cao Xiaodi: I don’t know.

Coach Tian: Did she ask to be excused?

Zhu Aiping: No.

Coach Tian [checking his watch]: Get on the bus. Get on the bus!


At the Tao home.

Mrs. Tao [to Lin Xiaojie]: Dig in! Please, don’t be so polite, eat up!

At the arena, Coach Tian’s team runs onto the court, greets the opposing team, and does lay-up drills. Coach Tian checks his watch. The game starts. Cut to outside the team headquarters. It is dark. Lin Xiaojie walks through the gate. The watchman speaks to her.

Watchman: Hey, how come you didn’t go to the game?

Lin Xiaojie: They left already?!

Watchman: They left more than an hour ago. [Lin Xiaojie runs toward the building] Hey, shouldn’t you be going after them?

Lin Xiaojie: I’m going to get my things!

In the basketball arena. Lin Xiaojie enters in street clothes.

Lin Xiaojie [to Coach Tian]: Coach. [he ignores her]

Cao Xiaodi [to Lin Xiaojie]: Xiao Lin, sit here. [to Tian] Coach, Xiao Lin’s here.

Coach Tian: I know.

In the locker room at halftime.

Zhu Aiping: Where were you, Xiao Lin? Quick, get your uniform on and warm up!

Cao Xiaodi [to Tang Shibao]: Coach Tian is angry.

Zhu Aiping [to Tian]: Coach, let’s let Xiao Lin start the second half.

Coach Tian: That won’t be necessary. . . . I don’t think that someone who is undisciplined and does not think of the group can be of any use in a game. . . . [a buzzer sounds; to the team he says] Let’s get out on the court.

The second half has begun. Wang Aizhu has the ball. Lin Xiaojie sits on the bench and pouts.

Zhu Aiping [on the court]: [to Wang Aizhu] Easy, easy. Don’t rush.

Cao Xiaodi [on the bench, after Wang Aizhu shoots and misses]: Lin Xiaojie would have made that shot . . . [Wang Aizhu, on the court, and Lin Xiaojie, on the bench, trade glances]



Wang Aizhu loses the ball. The players on the bench mutter disapprovingly. Coach Tian calls a timeout with the Shanghai team trailing the Workers team 42-36. He indicates that he is going to make a substitution, but he replaces Wang Aizhu with Cao Xiaodi, not Lin Xiaojie. This surprises and puzzles some members of the team.

Coach Tian: Number 12 [Cao Xiaodi], you’re in. Number 9 [Wang Aizhu], you’re out.

The Shanghai team loses 46-44. They ride the bus back to their dormitory.

In the dormitory.

Tang Shibao [to a teammate who is singing]: Knock off the singing.

Lin Xiaojie looks for the note she left.

Cao Xiaodi [to Lin Xiaojie]: What are you looking for?. . . [Lin doesn’t find the note; she climbs to her bunk and lies down, crying. Cao says to all] Coach Tian is way too mean. . . . Xiao Lin made it to the game, he should have let her play!

Tang Shibao: Why should he have?! It’s a serious matter that Xiao Lin arrived late.

One of the teammates: Serious is serious, but he should’ve given her a break.

Cao Xiaodi: Coach Tian is way too strict.

Tang Shibao: Are you saying that discipline doesn’t matter?

One of the teammates: He still should’ve let her play!

Cao Xiaodi: She came to the game, so he should’ve let her play!

Tang Shibao: So what happens when we all come late?

Cao Xiaodi: That’s ridiculous!

Zhu Aiping: Stop fighting, stop fighting!

Cao Xiaodi: I still think what Coach Tian did is wrong no matter what! [Lin Xiaojie lies on her bunk, crying.]

The next day in Tian Zhenhua’s room, Coach Tian speaks to the assembled team. On the wall is a poster that says “Athletes! Win Glory and Honor for Your Country!”

Coach Tian: Think about it, ladies. How should an athlete approach an important game? By being late? By not showing up? By ignoring the rules? There’s nothing I can’t stand more than an athlete who flaunts the rules.

Zhu Aiping: For the last time Xiao Lin, where did you go last night?

Tang Shibao: Come on, tell us!

Cao Xiaodi: Tell us, Xiao Lin.

Lin Xiaojie: I went to Tao Kai’s house. Yesterday was my birthday.

Zhu Aiping: You should’ve told us, even if it was your birthday.

Lin Xiaojie: I left a note!

Tang Shibao: Where’s the note, then?

Zhu Aiping: Tang Shibao!

Tang Shibao: If you’re wrong, you’re wrong – nothing more to it. Just admit it.

Lin Xiaojie: Well, I wasn’t starting the game anyway.

Li Xiuqing: I think Xiao Lin’s got problems with her way of thinking. She looks down on sports and is always thinking about getting into college.

Lin Xiaojie: You guys can say whatever you want about me, but you can’t say I don’t put enough importance on sports. That I don’t accept. I’m not even getting any studying done for the exams and my mother is on my case. And now you . . . I quit. I’m leaving.

Coach Tian: You’re quitting? You’re leaving? Go ahead. But I’ll always remember the girl who left her team just before an important game. And why? Because her comrades criticized her? Because she didn’t get to start? Are you telling me that in war only the soldiers on the front line matter? Are you telling me that reinforcements can leave whenever they want? . . . Okay, my attitude yesterday was a little too strict. But I was thinking, what could possibly be more important to an athlete than an upcoming game? . . . . When I was young I knew an athlete who represented his country in an international competition. But foreigners laughed at him. They thought it was funny that the Chinese “Sick Man of East Asia” was going to take part in a sports competition. Reporters wanted him to take off his shirt so they could take pictures of him bare-chested. At the time he didn’t get it, but later he realized that they weren’t insulting him, they were insulting our country, our people.

Tang Shibao: What happened?

Coach Tian: What happened? . . . He won a championship for China. [Coach Tian is holding a medal in his hand—the same medal that he gave to Lin Jie long ago and that Boss Lin falsely claimed Lin Jie wanted to give back to him. He puts the medal on his desk.] But the China of those days had no use for that. . . . To survive, he sold out. He went to work for a team owner to play ball and make advertisements. He was no better than a performing animal in a circus.

Zhu Aiping [as the girls look at Tian’s medal]: Where is that athlete today?

Coach Tian: Now he is the coach of a girls’ basketball team. And he isn’t doing such a good job. . . . . Things are different for your generation. Every second, every moment of your lives is blessed. But some of you don’t understand how precious your good fortune is. . . . And sometimes you do not cherish the honor that the country bestows on every athlete.


Zhu Aiping [to Lin Xiaojie as Lin runs away crying]: Xiao Lin!

Night. Tian is alone at his desk in his room, writing a letter. He writes, “Lin Jie: Ever since . . .” then he changes this to “Comrade Lin Jie: Ever since we . . .”. He stops and tears up the letter.

Very early the next morning, Lin Xiaojie is outside on the basketball court practicing by herself. The court is below Coach Tian’s balcony. He sees her, smiles, turns and goes back into his room. In his office, Tian finishes his letter. As he reads it in voiceover, cut to Lin Jie reading the letter.

Coach Tian [in voiceover]: Your daughter Xiaojie is an athlete with great promise, but she doesn’t get encouragement and support. She told me that her mother is against her playing basketball. True? This surprises me. . . . You and I have not seen each other in many years. How are you? I’ve been thinking about you for more than a decade. I very much hope to see you.

Lin Jie finishes the letter, looks in the mirror, at her ring [the ring that Tian gave back to her long ago in a misunderstanding], and at her wedding picture.

Coach Tian’s room. Tian is with the team.

Coach Tian: Here’s tonight’s starting lineup. Zhu Aiping at center. At guard, Tang Shibao and Liu Xiuqinq. Right forward is Chen Zhifang and left forward is . . . . . Lin Xiaojie.

In the middle of a game with Lao Meng’s (Girls) Workers Team, with the score 83-46 in favor of the Shanghai team, Lin Xiaojie is fouled and knocked to the ground. She gets up limping with an injured knee.

Cut to a shot of a moving train [this is Lin Jie coming to Shanghai by train from Suzhou].

Cut to a hospital. In Lin Xiaojie’s room, a doctor looks at an X-ray. Coach Tian, a few of the players, and Tao Kai are there.

Xu Zhenzhen: The doctor says it will take three months to heal.

Lin Xiaojie: Three months?

Wang Aizhu: You mean Xiao Lin can’t make the trip to Beijing with us?

Tao Kai: Go to Beijing?! This is going to get in the way of her college entrance exams!

Cut to Lin Jie approaching the front steps of the hospital, then cut to Lin Xiaojie’s room.

Tao Kai [to Coach Tian]: Mr. Tian, Xiao Lin has put off getting ready for the exams to play ball, and now you want her to have an operation so she can get out of the hospital early? What for?

Lin Xiaojie: Tao Kai!!

Tao Kai: Mr. Tian, I’m not saying that athletic work is unimportant. . . . I study engineering. As we advance toward Socialism, our country needs industry, and industry need engineers. Lin Xiaojie could make an outstanding engineer. But she’s wasting time jumping around and playing ball. To be blunt, what on earth does basketball have to do with Socialism?

Coach Tian: Comrade Tao Kai, you study engineering, and it pains you that our country isn’t developed industrially. Well, when an athlete hears people talk about China being the “Sick Man of Asia,” it hurts. . . . A few years ago, I had the chance to go with a sports delegation overseas. I saw the flags of the Soviet Union, the USA, and England flying over the stadium, even flags of countries with populations of no more than a couple of hundred thousand. As a veteran athlete . . . as a Chinese . . . nothing hurts more than to look up and not see your nation’s flag flying. [No one notices as Lin Jie enters the room; she stands to the side, listening] Just think, if we could raise our red flag with its five stars at an international meet and play our national anthem, then no matter what country you were from, even if you were against us, you’d have to stand up and take your hat off to our flag and think about the fact that you were up against a country of six hundred million people. But apparently some people think this is meaningless, it is just “jumping around” and has nothing to do with Socialism . . . [Tian pauses, collects himself] Sorry, I got a little emotional there. [Coach Tian notices Lin Jie; the two look at each other]


Lin Xiaojie [to her mother]: Ma!

Lin Jie [to her daughter]: Are you okay?

Lin Xiaojie: I’m fine.

Lin Jie [introducing Coach Tian and her mother]: Ma, this is the Coach Tian I am always talking about. . . . Coach, this is my mother.

Dissolve to the hospital courtyard. Coach Tian and Lin walk together.

Lin Jie: Your temper hasn’t changed.

Coach Tian: True. . . . Did you get my letter?

Lin Jie: Yes. . . . . I was planning to come see you anyway.

Coach Tian: About Xiao Lin? . . . . Why don’t you approve of her playing ball?

Lin Jie: Why do you want her to play ball?

Coach Tian [with a little bitterness]: Oh, that’s right, your family always did look down on athletes.

Lin Jie: Why haven’t you married?

Coach Tian: Why did you leave me?

Lin Jie is puzzled. She takes off her ring and shows it to Tian, meaning, “You gave this back to me and left me.”

Coach Tian: That’s the ring I gave back to you.

Lin Jie: Why?

Coach Tian: Obviously because your father said you were getting married to somebody else. That’s the only reason I gave it back.

Lin Jie: What?


Before Coach Tian can answer, Zhu Aiping walks up.

Zhu Aiping: Coach, the doctor wants to know if Xiao Lin going to have the operation or not.

Coach Tian: That’s for her mother to decide.

Zhu Aiping [to Lin Jie]: Auntie Lin, what do you say?

Lin Jie [to Coach Tian]: You decide.

Fade to black. Fade in on a train [Lin Jie going back to Suzhou]. Dissolve to Lin Xiaojie’s hospital room. Coach Tian enters.

Lin Xiaojie: Coach!

Lin Xiaojie is in bed, writing something, which she hands to Coach Tian. It is a registration form for the college examination. On the lines where applicants are to list their choices for preferred type of institution, Lin Xiaojie has written “Sports Academy” for each of her top three choices.

Coach Tian [reading the application with pleasure]: I’ll take care of this for you. [he hands a package to Lin Xiaojie] . . . Here is a present for you. [Lin Xiaojie unwraps it—it is the bobble doll that looks like Lin Xiaojie]. . . . You forgot this photograph. [Tian hands Lin Xiaojie the photograph of Lin and her mother]

Lin Xiaojie: That’s for you to keep. . . . Coach Tian, I . . .


Coach Tian: What?

Lin Xiaojie: I grew up without a father. Recently, I quite naturally have come to feel that . . . . [with tears in her eyes] . . . I keep thinking about how great it would be if I had a father like you!

Fade to black. Fade in on Lin Xiaojie in the hospital. Series of dissolves shows her standing, exercising her knee. Fade to black. Fade in on the girls’ dormitory room. They are looking at their new uniforms.

Cao Xiaodi: We are going to Beijing!

Coach Tian [enters and stands in the doorway]: Everybody look! Who do you think is here? [Lin Xiaojie walks in]

Zhu Aiping: How’s your leg?

Lin Xiaojie: Take a look at this. [she walks back and forth]

Lao Meng is with Tian. Coach Tian whispers something to him.

Lao Meng: She’s Lin Jie’s daughter!?

Shot of Wang Aizhu’s accordion lying on a top bunk. Wang Aizhu has given her bottom bunk to Lin Xiaojie.

Wang Aizhu: Your leg is hurt. Take the lower bunk. . . . . Here’s your new uniform. [they hug]


At night, Lin Xiaojie and Wang Aizhu lie next to each other. Wang Aizhu is in tears.

Wang Aizhu: How could I have done such a thing?

Lin Xiaojie: Don’t feel bad about it anymore. It’s in the past.

Fade to black. Fade in on a train. The girls are on a train heading for Beijing. In the corridor of their soft-sleeper car, they sing a song. Wang Aizhu plays the accordion. Lin Xiaojie passes out candy. She goes into Coach Tian’s compartment. He is writing a letter.


Lin Xiaojie: Hi, coach. Writing a letter?

Coach Tian: Yes.

Lin Xiaojie: To who?

Coach Tian: An old friend.

Shot of the letter Tian is writing.

Tian [in voiceover]: Dear Lin Jie, I am on my way to Beijing now. The last couple of days I’ve been thinking about us running into each other again. It is like we both had an awful nightmare. I’ve also been thinking about our past together and those times I can never forget. Your daughter Xiaojie is here beside me. You are no doubt worrying about her injury. She will soon be able to play basketball again. She is such a strong young woman. Certainly stronger than we were. She’s going to be an outstanding athlete. [cut to Lin Jie at home packing as Tian’s voiceover continues] We’re going overseas and we’ll be gone for several months. I hope to see you before we leave. You and I should have a talk about things and work things out for the future.

Lin Jie on a bus in Beijing passing Tiananmen Gate. Cut to outside a sports arena in Beijing. Lin Jie arrives and walks up the steps as an announcer says, “Comrades. The Chinese National Sports Competition Has Begun!” Lin Jie enters the arena. Shot of Tian and his team standing at attention as the Chinese national anthem plays. Shot of Lin Jie. Dissolve to Lin Jie’s face and in double exposure flashback to: Tian in his basketball uniform; Lin Jie on the basketball court; Tian’s apartment and the orchid on the windowsill; the game with the foreign sailors; Tian lying in an alley. Dissolve back to the narrative present. The game over, Tian’s players put their medals around his neck. Lin Jie shakes Tian’s hand.

Lin Jie: Congratulations.

Dissolve to the empty arena. Coach Tian and Lin Jie sit in the stands.


Coach Tian: The past is the past. We should start a new life.

Lin Jie: My girl is all grown up. I can’t help thinking that our youth is already over.

Coach Tian: No. I look at it this way—this is our beginning!

Lin Xiaojie stands nearby. They do not notice her. She smiles to herself. Fade to black. Fade in on a plane on the tarmac. The team is ready to leave China to compete overseas.

Tao Kai [running up to Lin Xiaojie]: Xiao Lin, this is food my mom bought for you to eat on the trip.

Lin Xiaojie: This is for you. [she gives him the bobble doll]

Tao Kai [indicating the package he just gave her]: There is a long letter in there for you. Wait and read it on the plane.

Coach Tian [to Lin Jie]: We’ll be back soon.

Lin Jie: No matter how long it is, I’ll be waiting for you.

Lin Jie and others watch and wave. The plane takes off. The end.



Director: Xie Jin.                                               Cinematography: Huang Shaofen, Shen Xinlin.

Assistant Director: Qiang Ming.                         Music: Huang Huai.

Art Direction: Wang Yuebai, He Ruiji.               Sound: Lu Zhongbo, Liu Guangjie.

Editing: Wei Chunbao.                                      Makeup: Wang Tiebin.

Liu Qiong as Tian Zhenhua.                               Qin Yi as Lin Jie.

Cao Qiwei as Lin Xiaojie.                                 Cui Chaoming as Boss Lin.

Yu Mingde as Lao Meng.                                 Wang Qi as Tao Kai.

Lin Zhen as Mrs. Tao                                       Xiang Mei as Wang Aizhu.

Jin Chuan as Young Gentleman.                        Wang Zhifang as Zhu Aiping.

Gong Deren as Cao Xiaodi.                              Lin Tianxiu as Xu Zhenzhen.

Lin Shuqing as Wang Simei.                              Huang Shafei as Lin Xiuqinq.

Yang Aifen as Yang Suqin.                               Qin Jian as Chen Zhifang.

Tao Kai (with disapproval): “A girl in shorts and a T-shirt running around all over the place . . .”

Lin Lan: “You are so feudal.”

—-Nülan wuhao, by Xie Jin. Zhongguo dianying juben xuanji (Beijing: Zhongguo dianying, 1959), vol. 3: 497.


[ 1 ]Girl Basketball Player Number Five (女篮五号), directed by Xie Jin 谢晋. Shanghai Film Studio, 1957. Translation based on Nülan wuhao VCD (Beijing: Beiying luyin luxiang gongsi, 1999) and DVD (Guangzhou: Qiaojiaren wenhua chuanbo youxian gongsi, 2004), with reference to the film script by Xie Jin in Zhongguo dianying juben xuanji (Beijing: Zhongguo dianying, 1959), volume 3, pages 487-556. The film as released and the published film script differ in places; e.g., Lin Lan in the script is Lin Xiaojie in the film. Translation by Tim McCahill (Middlebury College class of 2003) and Tom Moran (Middlebury College), edited by Tom Moran. Tim McCahill’s work supported by the Middlebury College Undergraduate Collaborative Research Fund.