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Chinese Box (1997)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  17 April 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,671 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 43 critic

The story of Hong Kong, from New Year's Day to June 30th, 1997, when the British left their colony and turned it over to the People's Republic of China.



(screenplay), (story), 4 more credits »
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Title: Chinese Box (1997)

Chinese Box (1997) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Hui ...
Chaplin Chang ...
Homeless Man
Noel Rands ...
John's Friend at New Year's Party
Emma Lucia ...
Amanda Everheart
Ken Bennett ...
Russell Cawthorne ...
New Year's Party MC
Emotion Cheung ...
William Wong
Harvey Stockwin ...
Jonathan Midgley ...
Bruce Walker ...


John is an English photojournalist who has spent over a decade in Hong Kong; his friend Jim often crashes in his cramped apartment. John's unrequited love is Vivian whom he aches for but has not the nerve to possess. Concurrent with England's transfer of Hong Kong back to the Chinese, John discovers that he has a rare form of leukemia and has only months to live. So John, Jim, and the disfigured proto-hippy Jean grab a digital video camera and prowl the streets, seeking to document the "real" Hong Kong one last time. Written by Fred Goodridge

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »



| |



Release Date:

17 April 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az utolsó éjszaka Hong Kong-ban  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$97,916 (USA) (17 April 1998)


$2,195,190 (USA) (17 July 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When John and Jim stop during the motorcycle ride up the hill, the shadow of a cameraman is visible. See more »


John: Money, money, money. That's all you hear.
See more »


References Chungking Express (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

Much better than many people say.
10 July 2002 | by (Hong Kong) – See all my reviews

I don't know why, but people on imdb and elsewhere have been very critical of this film. Personally, as someone living in Hong Kong, I think it is both a well made and important film. At the end, the analogy of Gong Li's character starting again, as Hong Kong is starting again, worked well. I think perhaps the only drawback is Maggie Cheung's character, as it seems a little pointless. However, I like nearly everything Jeremy Irons is in - he is really one of the world's best actors. His characters are always people that I can somehow empathise with - they're always very believable and he really carries the film's themes. The idea of setting the film in the six months leading up to Hong Kong's July 1, 1997 handover works well. As Irons' character dies, so does British sovereignty - the Union Jack goes down, the last Governor cries, Gong Li shakes off her long-time sugar daddy. It's a captivating and well-told story of which the Director should be proud, although I read an interview with him a while ago, and he didn't want to talk about the film, since it's upset some people in Hong Kong, I think. This film is certainly better than most rubbish that's made in Hong Kong. I urge you to find a copy and see it.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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