IMDb > Chinese Box (1997)
Chinese Box
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Chinese Box (1997) More at IMDbPro »

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Chinese Box -- 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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Release Date:
17 April 1998 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
love in an achanging world See more (42 total) »


  (in credits order)

Jeremy Irons ... John

Li Gong ... Vivian

Maggie Cheung ... Jean
Michael Hui ... Chang

Rubén Blades ... Jim

Jared Harris ... 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
Angelica Lofgren ... Baby-Lin
Julian Chang ... Dr. Chang (as Dr. Julian Chang)
Rui Chao Jian ... Businessman #1
Sing Chau Wai ... Businessman #2
Hung Lu ... Businessman #3
Shirley Hung ... Girlfriend #1
Michelle Yeung ... Girlfriend #2
Hong-Ning Ng ... Drunk Karaoke Singer (as Alex Ng Hong Ling)
Wah Lee Chiu ... Minibus Passenger
Maria Cordero ... Mamasan
Fong Pao ... Godfather
Fan Hui ... Godfather's Wife
Man-Chung Lam ... Wedding Photographer
Siu-Kei Lee ... Gangster #1
Chi On Leung ... Gangster #2
Yuen Fat Tse ... Gangster #3
Roderick Lee ... Manhattan Club Bouncer
Hui Li ... Black Moon Hostess
Maria St. Lynne ... Black Moon Hostess

Josie Ho ... Lilly (as Josephine Ho)
Gloria Wu ... News Reporter
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

François Chau ... Mr. Wong

Winston Ellis ... Brian

Turbo Kong ... Ganster

Mike Leeder ... Partygoer

Ralph Lister ... Principal

Tony Blair ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

James Huang ... Patron (uncredited)

Kim Penn ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Wayne Wang 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jean-Claude Carrière  screenplay
Jean-Claude Carrière  story
Larry Gross 
Rachel Ingalls  Jean's story inspired by "Last Act: The Madhouse"
Paul Theroux  story
Wayne Wang  story

Produced by
Reinhard Brundig .... executive producer
Lydia Dean Pilcher .... producer
Francey Grace .... associate producer
Akinori Inaba .... executive producer
Jean Labadie .... executive producer
Heidi Levitt .... co-producer
Jessinta Liu .... co-producer
Andrew Loo .... line producer
Jean-Louis Piel .... producer
Wayne Wang .... producer
Michiyo Yoshizaki .... executive producer
Original Music by
Graeme Revell 
Cinematography by
Vilko Filac 
Film Editing by
Christopher Tellefsen 
Production Design by
Chris Wong 
Costume Design by
Shirley Chan 
Makeup Department
Isabel Harkins .... makeup department head
Production Management
Kelley Cribben .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jo Jo Hui .... assistant director
Chiu Wah Lee .... second assistant director
Gary Mak .... second assistant director
Henry Ng .... second assistant director
Tom Razzano .... first assistant director: USA
Mary Soan .... first assistant director
Sound Department
Michael Barry .... sound re-recording mixer
Stan Bochner .... supervising sound editor
Jason Canovas .... assistant sound editor
Tim J. Carroll .... consultant: Dolby Digital
Pam DeMetruis-Thomas .... dialogue editor (as Pam DeMetruis)
Gil Hova .... apprentice sound editor
Richard King .... sound effects editor (as Richard Q. King)
Drew Kunin .... sound
George A. Lara .... foley mixer
Kevin Lee .... foley editor
Lisa J. Levine .... supervising adr editor
Branka Mrkic .... dialogue editor
Barbara Parks .... assistant sound editor (as Barbara J. Parks)
Brian Vancho .... foley artist
Brian Williams .... sound designer
Visual Effects by
Kathy Kelehan .... animation producer: titles
Daniel Leung .... 3D animation supervisor
Daniel Leung .... CG supervisor
Matt McDonald .... 3D animator
Amit Sethi .... 3D animator
Tomoko Shin .... 3D animator
Camera and Electrical Department
Christopher Doyle .... camera operator: second unit
Christopher Doyle .... director of photography: second unit (as Chris Doyle)
Patrick Ho .... clapper loader
Louis Jong .... key grip
Deborah Lipman .... second assistant camera: New York
Casting Department
David H. Kramer .... adr voice casting
Monika Mikkelsen .... casting associate
Editorial Department
Don Ciana .... color timer
Nick Dibeneditto .... negative matcher
Craig Marsden .... assistant film editor
Misako Shimizu .... first assistant editor
Ian Silverstein .... second assistant editor
Music Department
Paul Haslinger .... music programmer
Susan Jacobs .... music supervisor
Simon James .... conductor
Graeme Revell .... score producer
Tim Simonec .... conductor
Tim Simonec .... orchestrator
Elizabeth Waldo .... consultant: Chinese choral
Dan Wallin .... score mixer
Dan Wallin .... score recordist
Brian Williams .... music designer
Joshua Winget .... music editor (as Josh Winget)
Other crew
Randall Balsmeyer .... title designer
Kelley Cribben .... production coordinator: New York
Jennifer Zolten Freed .... post-production accountant
Paul Haslinger .... additional arranger
Claudia Raschke .... operator
Thierry Valletoux .... reportage

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for language and some sexual content
99 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Crew or equipment visible: When John and Jim stop during the motorcycle ride up the hill, the shadow of a cameraman is visible.See more »
John:You must get a piece of jade, and keep it close. Then your blood will go into the stone, and the stone will get into your blood. The blood will then become stone, and you will stop bleeding.See more »
Movie Connections:
Features A Foreign Affair (1948)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
10 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
love in an achanging world, 28 April 2007
Author: dromasca from Herzlya, Israel

The world is changing around the characters in 'Chinese Box'. The screen time focuses on the six months between the New Year 1997 and the end of the British rule in Hong Kong. It's also the time that is left for John, the principal character of the film, a freelance journalist trying to store on film and in words the transition and dying of leukemia. It is the time when not only the world is changing in an unknown direction, but also when John may or may not find the fulfilling of his great love to Vivian, a beautiful Chinese bartender with a dubious past, herself in love with a third, Chinese man.

The story is a combination between culture clash movies intertwined with love stories a la 'Shogun' with love stories in the shade of a crumbling world as in 'Casablanca'. It is to the credit of the director that despite a little too simplistic and explicit romantic intrigue he succeeds to bring to screen and combine a little of the charm of both genres in the right dosage. One may wonder where did Wayne Wang's career go lately and why he rather picked to do trashy films as 'Maid in Manhattan'.

The strength of the film and what makes it survive well the decade since its realization resides however in the rendition of the city, of its infinite colors and smells, of the crowd and the noise, of its hopes, fears and dreams in the wake of the falling under Communist rule. Jeremy Irons is perfect as he will ever be, Li Gong is an enigmatic Chinese Hepburn, and Ruben Blades and Maggie Chang fill in two memorable supporting roles and another lateral story that fits well in the mosaic. 'Chinese Box' catches both a moment to remember in history and a beautiful love story to remember as well, on the background of a world in transition to an unknown destination.

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