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Yellow Hill: The Stranger's Tale

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Yellow Hill: The Stranger’s Tale (|See database Page) is a short western movie developed, produced and directed by Ross Bigley, co-developed, co-produced and starring Chinese-born Bai Ling, probably best known for her appearance alongside Brandon Lee in The Crow (1994). It can be watched as a stand-alone short, but it was set up as an introduction to an upcoming feature length movie called Yellow Hill.

Director: Ross Bigley - Cast: Bai Ling, Bruce Spielbauer, Tom Reed, Cyn Dulay, Joshua Parkes, Dan Katula, John Walski, Gregg Wright, Brian Roloff, Theophilus Jamal, Cheryl Roloff, Vito Valenti, Robert L. Parsons II -

The entrance of the Stranger is similar to the introduction of the Man with No Name in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars or the mysterious avenger in Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter: he’s a figure in the landscape, appearing out of nothing, a ghost-like apparition taking the shape of a person while entering a hostile world. We don’t know who this person is, nor where he comes from, but we do know that nothing will be the same after his arrival.

Unlike the Man with No Name, the Stranger is a Woman, and unlike the drifter from the high plains, she’s on foot. And note the way she walks! She’s not contemplating or examining things, not biding her time or calculating her actions, she’s fast, determined, as if she's saying: "You can tell me everything you want, Mr. Leone, I don't stroll on the tones of Mr. Morricone, I'm fast, and I'm furious. Here I come ...

The Stranger is on her way to the small mining town of Rock Ridge, a place where strangers aren’t welcome. Just out of town she is spotted by a cowboy, one of the kind who likes to shoot first and ask questions later. She plays dead but literally springs back to life when the gunman approaches her to check if his bullet has done its dirty job and rob her from all things valuable. After neutralizing the aggressor, the Stranger continues her way to town. The first thing she is told, by Lyle, the local bartender, is to go looking elsewhere for fire water, because Indians aren’t served in his saloon. It’s only then that she raises her head and looks the bartender in the face. His reaction is significant:

My God, you are a celestial*”

Yellow Hill, the feature length movie, is about celestials, Chinese immigrants who came to America in the 1860s, their hopes and dreams and the hardship they found. The short isolates a few elements from the script, related to the character of the Stranger and her estranged father. Like many young Chinese girls, the Stranger was sold into prostitution because her father needed the money. A couple of flashbacks, filmed in harsh black and white, reveal a history of abuse and humiliation. But today she is free person, a person with a mission: to retrace her father and find out what happened to him. The only one in town willing to help her, is another Chinese woman, working in the saloon, most probably as a prostitute, all others want to get rid of her, as quickly as possible ...

... but this woman is determined, and she’s fast ...


  • ce·les·tial (sə-lĕs′chəl)

adj. 4. Of or relating to the Chinese people or to the former Chinese Empire.

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