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Love in a Fallen City (1984)

Qing cheng zhi lian (original title)
A cynical playboy pursues an introverted divorcee in the decadent Hong Kong on the eve of the Japanese invasion.



(novel), (screenplay)
2 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Fan Liu-Yuan (as Chow Yun Fat)
Cora Miao ...
Pai Liu-So
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gerry Barnett
Chiao Chiao ...
Wife of Liu-So's fourth brother
Szu-Ying Chien
Chuan Chin
Wai Yee Chin ...
Liu-So's youngest sister
King-Fai Chung ...
Mr. Hsu
Jovy Coudrey ...
Princess Saheiyini
Gongbi Deng
Mary Garlick
Chung Ping Geung ...
Liu-So's third brother
Michael Harley
Jack Holloway
Man Huang ...
Liu-So's mother


A cynical playboy pursues an introverted divorcee in the decadent Hong Kong on the eve of the Japanese invasion.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance | War


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Release Date:

2 August 1984 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Love in a Fallen City  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There are two versions of the film: The original version in Cantonese is only available with Japanese subtitles. In the Mandarin version with English and Chinese subtitles, Chow Yun-Fat is dubbed by another actor. See more »


Fan Liu-Yuan: When looking at Hsu's green raincoat when picking her up from the port: Your raincoat looks like a medicine jar.
Fan Liu-Yuan: After a short pause: You are my medicine.
See more »


Followed by Love in a Fallen City (2009) See more »


Love in a Fallen City
Composed by Man Yee Lam
Lyrics by Man-Chung Lam
Performed by Ming-Chuen Wang
See more »

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User Reviews

A little bit of history
10 February 2005 | by (Hong Kong) – See all my reviews

The "fallen city" is Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation in WWII, but most of the story revolves around the time just before the actual falling. While the plush hotel at Repulse Bay where most of the story takes place has been restored and still carries its colonial flavor, the story belongs to another time. This was a time when Pai Liu-So (Cora Miao), a divorcée approaching thirty, was frowned upon for being way ahead of her time. "Don't think legal papers of divorce would give you the right to everything", yells her brother who took her back into her family (together with her money that he quickly lost in reckless speculation in the stock market), "laws are made and unmade every day. It's traditions that really count".

Fan Liu-yuan (Chow Yun-fat), a westernized, financially successful playboy whom she encounters in Shanghai and then again in Hong Kong sees in her the "perfect Chinese woman". Most of the story takes place at the hotel in Hong Kong where Pai accompanies generous family friends on a trip. Typically helpless and introvert, scantily educated Pai nevertheless is witty and proud, enough so to deeply attract Fan, who idealizes her despite his abundant experience with women. Pai, who would probably make a successful professional or business woman at a different time in a different place, is practical and looks for a secured relationship in marriage. The seesaw between them goes on until the war and the fall of Hong Kong, when struggling for survival finally brings their souls together, so to speak.

Brought back as one of the week-long Valentine TV specials, Love in a Fallen City is not one of the sweet romances along the line of You've Got Mail or Sleepless in Seattle. It's from a troubled era when western influence challenged traditional values. Even more unique is the pre-WWII colonized world of Hong Kong. Director Ann Hui captures all these elements while moving along this love story that would have been so natural, but for an uncertain, changing world that warped everything.

Miao has the air of silent defiance that is perfect for the role of Pai. A recent stage production of the story, however, portrayed Pai's character as more positive and cheerful, which I like even better. Chow has all the charm and flamboyance needed to make Fan believable. The excellent rapport between them further confirms the great casting job.

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