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The Soong family was a political dynasty in China that reached the highest levels of power. This film follows the lives of the three Soong daughters, who were educated in America and returned to China. Ai-ling (the oldest) married a wealthy and powerful businessman. Ching-ling married Sun Yat-sen, the revolutionary founder of modern China. Mei-ling (the youngest) married Chiang Kai-shek, China's leader during World War II. The sisters captured the world's fascination for their brilliant marriages and their strong influence on their nation. Written by
Politics and history aside, this is pro film-making
It is interesting, and logical of course, that the reaction to this Hong Kong flick ranges from anathema to anthem, but, for overseas Chinese who neither speak the lingo nor are too familiar with the facts, this "Soong Dynasty" cinematic fable is more than watchable. That it is more fable than fact is readily obvious, yet the fable is more than entertaining. It is doubtful in the extreme, that Ching-ling survived miscarriage and 42 days sloshing through the marshes as portrayed, but until a more sober and satisfactory account of Mme. Sun's life and accomplishments are on the film record, this portrait will have to do. The production is super, even if the glib pictorials may off-put in their slick projections. And, finally, from this perch, one of the most engaging sidelights here is the wondrous staging of the opera house, wherein Chiang Kai-shek ogles and woos May-ling. I found myself wishing the principals would get out of the way to let the opera speak for itself in toto. Reminded me of how Hollywood always cut away from more interesting spectacle to zoom in on the treacly romance of the overpaid and under-talented "stars." Oh, well, you can't have everything, and there was enough of the opera and its stellar performers, inter-cut nicely with war footage. Soneone should make a film about Chinese opera, and I don't mean that saga about the two star=crossed Peking Opera stars, and especially not that impossible restaging of that improbable romance between a French diplomat and a cross-dressing starlet.
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