In the 1970s, the Hong Kong government enacted a policy that granted each male heir of New Territories villagers the privilege to build a house without paying any dues to the government. ... See full summary »
When a scroll containing valuable martial arts secrets is stolen from the Emperor, an army detachment is sent to recover it. Blademaster, a young martial arts expert, accidentally ends up ... See full summary »
Years later, a woman narrates her personal story of the Japanese takeover of Hong Kong in 1941. She's Nam, young, attractive, daughter of a wealthy rice merchant, and prey to painful, ... See full summary »
A short-tempered, violent criminal named "White Tiger" is on the run from the police and joins a theater troupe for disguise, killing anyone who angers him or who suspects his identity. One... See full summary »
The Suns are a typical Hong Kong family: May, forty something, works for a trading company; her husband, Bing, works as a low-grade civil servant, and Allen, their teenage son, is still at ... See full summary »
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 »
When looking at Hsu's green raincoat when picking her up from the port: Your raincoat looks like a medicine jar.
After a short pause: You are my medicine.
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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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