‘A woman of 34,‘ one of the customers of a village barber sighs, ‘and still not married.‘ To his ears, thirty-four, female and unmarried does not sound as freedom, but as an irrevocable death sentence. OUT OF PHOENIX BRIDGE follows four girls on their ‘lost weekend‘ between their past years as docile daughters and the future years as obedient wives. For three years, director Li Hong filmed four women in their twenties in Beijing, living together in a hovel and eking out a living as cleaning ladies. They are from the countryside (Phoenix Bridge), and although their working conditions are tough and their living conditions primitive, this period before marriage is the most independent time of their lives. The director interviews the girls, their parents and families about dreams, expectations and laws, and paints a touching picture of a society in which patriarchy still sets the rules.