The Documentary Film Festival (DOXA) presents the Mosuo Sisters on May 6, 2013 at 12.30PM. The Mosuo people in China make up one of the last matriarchal societies in the world. Juma (25) and Latso (22) are sisters from a remote Mosuo village tucked away in the foothills of the Himalayas. The film follows the sisters as they navigate their way through two parallel worlds: China’s changing economy and Mosuo tradition. When the sisters move to Beijing, to take jobs in the entertainment industry, their understanding of the world undergoes a profound shock. As one sister says, “I felt like a tiny grain of sand.” The scale of the city is like nothing they have seen before. Even the idea of apartment dwelling confounds the sisters. When they first arrive they think that each skyscraper tower is a single dwelling, only to discover the homes are divided up like an enormous beehive. Just as they’re settling in, the economic downturn of 2009 forces Juma and Latso to postpone their dreams of higher education and modern jobs, and return to their village.
Determined to keep their family out of poverty, Latso agrees to stay home to help their mother on the farm, while Juma heads back to the city to make money as a singer. Juma learns to protect herself from gangsters and other wealthy bar dwellers and Latso gives up her dream of education to take on hard labour and child rearing. Whether it’s breathing in the dusty air of farm life or the second-hand smoke of cocktail lounges, both lifestyles carry their own set of challenges. “Staying at home, or leaving. They are both hard,” says Latso. The burden these women must bear takes its toll on their relationship. Despite their disagreements and disappointments, what keeps these sisters strong, is their open communication and unquestionable loyalty. After all, as Juma says, “The family you are born into is the most important thing in all life.”
DOXA 2013 is a festival featuring seventy-four screenings, 5 venues, and dozens of opportunities to engage in discussion with panelists and filmmakers. This is the 12th annual DOXA Documentary Film Festival, and will feature 10 days of some of the best documentaries from around the world, across Canada, May 3-12, 2013.