Liu Sanjie is a story that originates from the Zhuang minority people; the largest of the minority groups in China. It’s based on the legend of a woman called Liu Sanjie (literally meaning “third sister of Liu family”) who the Zhuang people believe to be real figure in their history. Across generations, the story has become an oral tradition amongst these people and similar characters have even been found to exist in other minority cultures. According to legend, Liu Sanjie had the gift of a beautiful singing voice from a very early age. So beautiful was her voice, she could quell anger and raise the spirits of the people around her. The story became famous around China when the movie Liu Sanjie was released in 1960 – a rare musical production in Chinese cinema.
The story of Liu Sanjie, documented in both the legend and the movie, is about a local gangster Mo Huairen who covets Sanjie and her beautiful voice; and wishes to make her his concubine. Her boyfriend and fellow villagers eventually plot to free her – the two ultimately escaping by turning into a pair of larks. —heroic-cinema.com