Beijing, 1988. On the cusp of middle-age, Chen Handong has known little but success all his life. The eldest son of a senior government bureaucrat, he heads a fast-growing trading company ... See full summary »
Jun arrives in Hong Kong from mainland China, hoping to be able to earn enough money to marry his girlfriend back home. He meets the streetwise Qiao and they become friends. As friendship ... See full summary »
On Dry Well Lane in Beijing in 1953, Chen Shujuan and Lin Shaolong marry. A year later their son, nicknamed Tietou (Iron Head), is born. The Party is everywhere: Mao's photograph, ... See full summary »
A person's life is destined to be shorter than that of a city. Having spent her whole life in Shanghai, Qiyao has her moments of prosperity and her fair share of loneliness. She finally ... See full summary »
In the old days it was called hypochrondria, or black melancholia. Now, apparently, it's termed the Asthenic Syndrome. Whatever it is, Nikolai, a teacher of epicly indifferent pupils, has ... See full summary »
When romance starts to cool, Ah Ying applies for a job in a film centre. Instead of paying her for her work, the centre lets her attend its classes for free. She is later drawn into a ... See full summary »
A biopic of Chinese silent film actress from the 30's, Ruan Lingyu, with Maggie Cheung as Ruan. This movie tells the sad story of a young woman who is rescued from poverty by show business, and is subsequently destroyed by it. It's a classic story of the patriarchal double standard in which an adulterous woman is punished by society while an adulterous man is not.
Maggie Cheung's performance is quite good. First of all, she pulls off being an actress playing an actress who is very immersed in her work.
Everyone in this movie is exceedingly composed - they speak carefully, and walk perpetually as if on eggshells. No one really comes alive until a scene at a dance hall near the end. But despite all the sugary politeness, Cheung successfully conveys a woman who is being slowly destroyed by her oppressive environment. And there are a couple scenes in which she completely loses it, and it's very affecting to watch.
The movie is very interestingly interspersed with clips from Ruan's movies, documentary footage of Ruan's surviving contemporaries, and the actors' conversations with the director.
The other actors, such as Tony Leung Ka Fai, Carina Lau, and Waise Lee, who are so interesting in other movies, all have little to nothing to do, except to look nice in period costume.
Also interesting is the fact that Carina Lau (who plays fellow actress Lily Li) looks much more like the real Ruan Lingyu than Maggie Cheung does.
Watching this film is a bit like watching a PBS documentary - edifying, educational, but not exactly fun.
12 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?