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
Director Ho Yim's movie is based on a novel of Pearl Buck. 60-70 years ago, this writer's books were cross-cultural best sellers, bringing to the US and Western audiences the image of the Far East which soon will have become part of the daily lives, when WWII broke. The film story line has all the elements of the time - melodrama, clash between the Western and Chinese traditions, and a missionary message which is probably the most problematic part of the movie.
However, this is a good movie. Certainly, we have seen much better and original ones, coming directly from China without the intervention of the Hollywood producers. Having the film spoken in English may have won some US audiences, but certainly lowers the credibility. However, the filming is exquisite, the historical background is very well re-created, and the acting is fabulous. Is this really Luo Yam's first or second role? This is what IMDB's information says, I simply cannot believe it. She is giving an Oscar level performance, and I am certainly flattering some of the ladies who won feminine role Oscars lately.
Worth seeing. 8/10 on my personal scale.
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