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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
early 20th-century China through the eyes of three sisters
Until seeing Mabel Cheung's "Song jia huang chao" ("The Soong Sisters" in English), I had never even heard of the Soong sisters. The movie does a really good job focusing on their childhood leading to the establishment of the Republic of China, and then the sisters' associations with important figures in China's history. Ching-ling (Maggie Cheung) married Sun Yat-sen, May-ling (Vivian Wu) married Chiang Kai-shek, and Ai-ling (Michelle Yeoh) married H. H. Kung, although his role is minimized. Large portions of the movie seem to be about the visuals, as we see the elegant setting in which the sisters grew up.
The film came out the same year that Hong Kong got returned to China, so it might have had the aim of getting the two off to a good start. Of course, they had to include lines very favorable to the PRC, namely: "Before, we were slaves of old China. Now, we are slaves of slaves of old China." Overall, this one could appropriately accompany a showing of Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun". I certainly recommend it. Also starring Winston Chao, Hsing-kuo Wu, Zhenhua Niu, Elaine Jin and Wen Jiang.
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