Peking, 1948. A winter night. A man returns home to find a letter awaiting him written by a woman before her death. in the letter she tells him the story of her love for him -a life-long passion that has not diminished over time, but one that he has never known. her story spans 18 years from the moment she -then a 13 year-old girl- sets her eyes on her new neighbor. she tells their brief but passionate love in her youthi the hardship she goes through raising their child alone, and their final encounter after the war, during which the man fails tor ecognize her and one which leaves her in despair. Now having lost her son, she no longer has the courage to live on. Only in a letter is she capable of telling him everything, for the first and the last time. shaken by the letter, the man searches his memory for the nameless woman.
Tag Archives: Mandarin
Economic unrest roils central China’s Shaanxi Province: local factories are merging, thugs threaten managers, personnel records get lost, and workers are without protections such as health insurance. The police and much of society are surly. Xiao Jian, a mild young man whose father is ill, works in the family street stall doing pressing and tailoring. A laundered police-officer’s shirt goes uncollected, and Xiao Jian puts it on: it opens doors. Wearing it, he chats up a clerk, Zheng Shasha, and takes her out. He extracts fines from drivers who violate traffic laws. In these tough times, he’s not the only one with two identities. How long can he sustain it?
Wu Hongyan is a young woman working as a prison guard during executions of female convicts. She feels lonely after her husband died, and she takes a night train to another city to visit a dating service. After a series of unsuccessful dates, she meets Li Jun. It quickly becomes obvious that he is hiding a secret: he is the widower of one of the female convicts of which Wu Hongyan assisted in the execution. Li Jun is torn apart by his feelings, as he is both attracted to Wu Hongyan, and having a desire for revenge for his executed wife.
San Mao liu lang ji / The Winter of Three Hairs (1949) Gong Yan, Ming Zhao, Longji Wang, Comedy, Drama
San mao was an orphan in old Shanghai. He ate poster paste, slept in garbage truck, kept warm in ragged sacks in winter. He did whatever work he could find such as selling newspapers, picking up rubbish, pushing pedicabs for others, etc.. But he still could not earn enough to eat. A wealthy lady adopted him and dressed him in fine clothes and disciplined him. However, San Mao who loved freedom didn’t want to lead a parasitic life. He left and chose to live with other beggars like him freely. After liberation war, he stopped begging and led a normal life.
Beijing: young men in packs, machismo, class divisions, violence, and indifference. Guei arrives from the country: toothbrushes, hotel foyers, and Qin, a rich neighbor in high heels, dazzle him. He gets a job as a messenger. The company issues him a bike, which he must pay for out of his wages. When it is stolen, Guei hunts for it. A student, Jian, has it; for him, it’s the key to teen society – with his pals and with Xiao, a girl he fancies. Guei finds the bike and stubbornly tries to reclaim it in the face of great odds. But for Jian to lose the bike would mean humiliation. The two young men – and the people around them – are swept up in the youths’ desperation.
Dong / The Hole (1998) Ming-liang Tsai, Kuei-Mei Yang, Kang-sheng Lee, Tien Miao, Drama, Fantasy, Musical
A strange disease starts to affect people in Taiwan just before the year 2000. The authorities order everyone to evacuate, but some tenants of an apartment building stay put, including a shop owner who lives by himself. One day, a plumber goes to the shop owner’s apartment to check the pipes. The plumber drills a small hole in the floor, which comes down through the ceiling of another apartment. The hole never gets repaired, and this leads to some tension between the shop owner and the woman who lives below him.
China’s greatest living filmmaker Jia Zhangke (Platform, The World) travels with acclaimed painter Liu Xiaodong from China to Thailand as they as they meet everyday workers in the throes of social turmoil. Liu Xiaodong is well-known for his monumental canvases, particularly those inspired by China’s Three Gorges Dam project. In DONG, Jia Zhangke visits Liu on the banks of Fengjie, a city about to be swallowed up by the Yangtze River. The area is in the process of being “de-constructed” by armies of shirtless male workers who form the subject of Liu’s paintings. Liu and Jia next travel to Bangkok, where Liu paints Thai sex workers languishing in brothels. The two sets of paintings are united in their subjects’ shared sense of malaise in the face of the dehumanizing labor afforded them.
Zhou Yu de huo che / Zhou Yu’s Train (2002) Zhou Sun, Li Gong, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Honglei Sun, Drama, Romance
Zhou Yu, a ceramic decorative artist, travels twice a week from her home town of San Ming to Chongyang to visit her boyfriend, Chen Qing, a government worker and budding poet. The two met at a dance while Chen Qing was in San Ming, his old home town, on a business trip. She is the inspiration for the best of his poetry. Zhou Yu is a strong willed woman, whereas Cheng Qing is a sensitive soul. These differences in addition to the growing disparity in their life situations places an unspoken strain in their relationship, despite each truly loving the other. As such, Zhou Yu befriends Zhang Qiang, a veterinarian who travels on the same trains as her. Like Zhou Yu, Zhang Qiang is a strong personality whose emotional temperament more closely matches hers. Ultimately, the three, individually and collectively, have to decide if, and if so how each of the others fits into his/her future life, especially as Cheng Qing has to make a further decision about his professional life.
Hong mei gui bai mei gui / Red Rose White Rose (1994) Stanley Kwan, Joan Chen, Veronica Yip, Winston Chao, Drama
Chronicles the love life of a man, Zhenbao. He has a steamy fling with the wife of a friend, the saucy and exciting Red Rose. Even though he feels happy with her, he knows he will not end up with her. To maintain his reputation, he marries an antiseptic, frigid but classy lady of a prim and proper background (White rose). Dissonance abound when he finds his bride irritating.
Not far from Shanghai, in a country twon stands the palatial home of the Pang family. Old Master Pang is an addict who brings up his beautiful daughter Ruyi on opium smoke. Her older brother, Zhengda, is addicted as well, and then paralysed and effectively brain-dead. Zhongliang, Zhengda’s brother-in-law, is a successful gigolo in Shanghai who seduces married older women and then blackmails them. When Older Master Pang dies, the clan elders makes Ruyi to take over the role as the head of the household. Zhongliang returns to the Pang family on the death of Old Master Pang, re-encounters Ruyi, and they are secretly attracted to each other. Wanting to seem sophisticated, she succumbs to Zhongliang’s attempts to seduce her. But in the emotional maelstrom that follows – for the angry, jealous and sexually frustrated sister (Zhengda’s wife) is also part of the picture…