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Chinese Box (1997)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  17 April 1998 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 2,579 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 44 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.

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

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Cast

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

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

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Country:

| |

Language:

|

Release Date:

17 April 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Az utolsó éjszaka Hong Kong-ban  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

DEM 156,906 (Germany) (3 July 1998)

Gross:

$2,195,190 (USA) (17 July 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

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

Quotes

Party Guest: You were talking about democracy. Don't forget that Hong Kong never had democracy, and Hong Kong never asked for democracy, and didn't get it until 1984. But having been given it as a present, it might miss it if it's taken away again.
See more »

Connections

References Chungking Express (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mosaic mood piece
4 February 1999 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

I don't know if Wayne Wang is into photography or painting as a hobby, but just like his last two films, SMOKE and BLUE IN THE FACE, this movie reminded me of a mosaic or a photo album. I can see how some people had problems with it, since it's not a plot-driven film, but rather one of mood and atmosphere. I was moved by the images I saw, not just of the city and the changes it went through, but also of the actors. Irons is so often celebrated for the way that he uses his voice (justly, I might add) that you forget how well he's able to act with his face, and he does a terrific job here, communicating his sadness, his will to live even as disease ravages him, his agony over his unrequited love for Gong Li, and his curiosity and attraction to Maggie Cheung.

I haven't seen much of Cheung that I remember, but I've seen a few of Li's films. Both of them are excellent, Li especially in a role that's a lot more complicated than it might first appear. You really do feel that deep down, if circumstances allowed, she'd love Irons back. Cheung's role is mostly a symbolic one, but she handles it well. Not an easy film to watch, but moving.


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