River Without Buoys

River Without Buoys is a 1983 Chinese film directed by Wu Tianming about three timber rafters during the Cultural Revolution who decide to rescue a former District Director from a labor camp.


Rafting down the Xiao River in Hunan, Pan Laowu (Li Wei) warns his fellow rafter Shi Gu (Hu Ronghua) not to take a wife, because "the wives of rafters are widows even while they live." Pan tells the story of a woman he loved, Wu Aihua (Tao Yuling), whom he never returned to after his raft broke up and he fell into debt. The third rafter, Zhao Liang, is revealed to have a large family (a wife and seven daughters). We learn that Shi Gu is upset because his intended, Gaixiu, has been forced to marry the son of a political leader.