With World War 2 looming, a prominent family in China must confront the contrasting ideas of traditionalism, communism and Western thinking, while dealing with the most important ideal of all: love and its meaning in society.
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In 1938, Ailian is the forty years old wife of a wealthy man, Mr. Wu, who belongs to the traditional Wu Family in China. In order to get rid off her sexual obligations with her husband, Ailian gives Chiuming, a very young concubine to him. Andre is an American priest and doctor who takes care of an orphanage and becomes the tutor of her eighteen years old son Fengmo Wu. Father Andre starts giving classes to Fengmo, Ailian and Chiuming. Then, two forbidden loves will rise: between the priest and the first wife, and between the son and the concubine, having the invasion of China by the Japanese in a big picture. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Somehow I always feel that Willem Dafoe and the films he starrs in are drastically underrated. It is also the case for this exceptional movie set in pre-comunist China. A simple, touching story about tradition and the constrains that it sometimes brings.
The plot outline is simple. When Ailin turns 40, she decides it is time to retire from her husband's bed, the rich Mr. Wu. In order to do so, she finds a second wife, a woman that would take her place and pleasure the oral-sex-obsessed Mr. Wu. But the young new wife has trouble adapting to her role and the old pervert is not satisfied with her. Meanwhile, Ailin befriends her son's teacher, an American priest named Andre (Willem Dafoe). From here on, the story develops in various directions but I don't want to spoil it for you.
Very good acting and directing on a classical subject.
13 of 18 people found this review helpful.
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