Gua Shu Shijie - Melon Harvest
In China, the modern meets the traditional and personal relationships are still very traditional and there are many social obstacles keeping young men and women apart.
Melon Harvest is the story of a couple of young Chinese lovers that have been too shy to get together. The beautiful Meilin plays her traditional guzheng musical instrument at an elite party of modern Shanghainese and a mix of expatriate foreigners. Charged with the excitement of performance and the insistence of her friends, she asks the young man, Jiang Lu whom she likes to carry home her instrument for her.
Due to a rather comical miscommunication their relationship starts off on the wrong foot. A vulgar Chinese saying for taking a girl's virginity can be to say "split her melon" -- which is about equivalent to saying "pop her cherry" in English. This crude saying combined with some persistent melon images leads to clumsy and comical misunderstandings that are common in first love.
This was created for the Meiwenti Productions Shanghai Independent Short Film Contest. The them of version 7 -- Erotic. The challenge -- China's state-enforced morality. So an erotic film in China must be pretty tame -- no nudity.
I chose to play on the themes of shyness and cultural restrictions that keep many Chinese isolated. Most young women are afraid to seem too forward to ask for what they want if they take the lead, so they often wait a long time hoping the man with get their hints. The men are afraid of being turned down and "losing face" or of appearing weak by showing tender emotions, so they often choose to be alone than to risk opening themselves to their potential lovers.
For this reason, I know of some 25 or 26 year old virgins - both male and female... but at the same time, I see 16 year olds experienceing a sexual and moral revolution in China as young people watch films from the West, use the internet, experience modern influences and question traditional values.
So this time of innocence, when the majority of women graduate college as virgins is coming to an end since most will now enter college already having experinced carnal love.
(Melon Harvest is the english title but I like the chinese title better literally "Melon Ripe Time" The Chinese language is filled with traditional 4-word sayings that are rich with shared cultural meanings.... in this case it means to not miss a chance and to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves...ie you wait for crops to be ripe for harvest, but if you delay, tender crops will rot on the vine.)