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The White Countess
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The White Countess (2005) More at IMDbPro »

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The White Countess -- Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.
The White Countess -- Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.
The White Countess -- Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.
The White Countess -- Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.

Overview

User Rating:
6.7/10   4,548 votes »
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Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writer:
Kazuo Ishiguro (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The White Countess on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 February 2006 (Italy) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Wonderful cast let down by dreary direction See more (73 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Natasha Richardson ... Countess Sofia Belinskya

Lynn Redgrave ... Olga Belinskya
Madeleine Potter ... Grushenka
Madeleine Daly ... Katya

John Wood ... Prince Peter Belinsky

Vanessa Redgrave ... Princess Vera Belinskya

Allan Corduner ... Samuel Feinstein
Timur Engalychev ... Feinstein Child
Lucy Sutton ... Feinstein Child
Amir Maimon ... Feinstein Child
Itay Eltahan ... Feinstein Child
Dan Herzberg ... Frenchman

Aislín McGuckin ... Maria (as Aislin Mcguckin)
Dong Fu Lin ... Taxi Dance Hall Manager (as Lin Dong Fu)

Ralph Fiennes ... Todd Jackson
Da Ying ... Kao (as Ying Da)
Terence Harvey ... Walters
Jeff Harding ... Company Director
Paul Birchard ... Company Director

Lee Pace ... Crane

Hiroyuki Sanada ... Matsuda
Pierre Seznec ... Russian Singer

Dragan Micanovic ... Ilya
Xiao Jun Zong ... Chinese Foreman (as Zong Xiao Jun)
Alex Frolov ... Pickpocket
Kirill Khmelnitski ... Pickpocket
Luoyong Wang ... Liu
Alexandar Richardson ... Young Ilya
Rachel Partington ... Young Sofia
Ramin Razaghi Sefati ... Stallholder
Nicole Utterbeck ... American Girl
Young Fu Fan ... Fu (as Fan Young Fu)
Ke Qin Yao ... General Ji Deng (as Yao Ke Qin)
Jin Quan Liu ... General Shen Yinchu (as Liu Jin Quan)
Manouk Tideman ... Christina
Matt Eaton ... Man Reading Paper

Charles Reston ... Jealous Young Man
Hong Lan Hou ... Columbine

Kyle Rothstein ... Harlequin
David Sutton ... Punchinello
Tomas Hernell ... Pierrot
Violaine Motte ... Cat and Monkey Dancer
Jimbo ... Cat and Monkey Dancer
Jean-Pierre Lorit ... Antoine Jacquier
Len Marchi ... Hospital Doctor
Geoffrey Lieter ... Anti-Semite
Chang Shu ... Woman Helping Jackson
Tetsuro Uragami ... Japanese Officer
Zheng Hua Shu ... Trumpet Player (as Shu Zheng Hua)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hollie Johnson ... Lead Secretary (uncredited)

Richard Trombly ... Feinstein's Neighbor (uncredited)
Garth Tuckett ... Extra (uncredited)
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Directed by
James Ivory 
 
Writing credits
Kazuo Ishiguro (written by)

Produced by
Rahila Bootwala .... associate producer
Paul Bradley .... co-producer
Andreas Grosch .... producer: VIP Medienfonds 3
Richard Hawley .... co-producer
Yue-Sai Kan .... associate producer
Patrick Ko .... executive producer
Ismail Merchant .... producer
Andre Morgan .... executive producer
Simon Oxley .... assistant producer
Zhong-lun Ren .... producer: Shanghai Film Group (as Ren Zhonglun)
Andreas Schmid .... executive producer: VIP Medienfonds 3
Marcus Schöfer .... executive producer: VIP Medienfonds 3
Ben Spencer .... assistant producer
Daqing Wang .... executive producer: Century Hero (as Wang Daqing)
Tianyan Wang .... executive producer: Shanghai Film Group (as Wang Tianyun)
Fu Wenxia .... executive producer: Shanghai Film Group
Kai Wong .... assistant producer
 
Original Music by
Richard Robbins 
 
Cinematography by
Christopher Doyle 
 
Film Editing by
John David Allen 
 
Casting by
Celestia Fox 
 
Production Design by
Andrew Sanders 
 
Art Direction by
Chen Shaomian 
Steve Simmonds 
Baiyang Yu  (as Yu Baiyang)
 
Set Decoration by
Bin Lan  (as Lan Bin)
Bian Qi 
Shanqing Wang 
 
Costume Design by
John Bright 
 
Makeup Department
Carol Hemming .... hair designer
Carol Hemming .... makeup designer
Martina Kohl .... makeup- & hair department head
Claudia Moseley .... assistant to hair designer
Mary-Anne Waite .... makeup associate (as Mary-Anne Waite)
Christie Wang .... assistant makeup artist
 
Production Management
Zhu Bin .... production manager
Arie Bohrer .... production supervisor: VIP
Pierre Proner .... production supervisor
Aaron Shershow .... unit production manager
April YeFang .... production manager: pre-production (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ben Burt .... second assistant director
William Cheng .... first assistant director: China
George Every .... first assistant director
Gerry Gavigan .... first assistant director: UK
Da Hong .... crowd assistant director
Eliot Mathews .... third assistant director
Charles Reston .... trainee assistant director
Wei Wei .... second assistant director: China
 
Art Department
Shu Chou .... art department translator (as Zhou Shuhao)
Sadiya Chowhan .... art department runner
Tony Harris .... construction manager: UK
Zhongquan Hu .... construction manager (as Hu Zhongquan)
Zhu Liangde .... assistant art director
Xue Menglong .... construction manager
Lin Qingwei .... production buyer
Xiaosong Que .... art department coordinator
Wang Shicheng .... art department runner
Han Shonglai .... construction chargehand
Leipei Tao .... construction chargehand (as Tao Leipei)
Colin Thurston .... property master
Shen Yibin .... set painter
Lingen Yuan .... property master (as Yuan Lingen)
Zhiqiang Yuan .... picture car coordinator
Zhu Zengkang .... draughtsman
 
Sound Department
Coll Anderson .... sound effects design editor
Michael Barry .... sound re-recording mixer
Brian Bowles .... adr editor
Martin Czembor .... sound re-recording mixer
David Flynch .... foley editor (as Dave Flynch)
Robert Galvin .... sound recordist: UK
Robert Hein .... sound designer
Ludovic Hénault .... sound engineer
Bobby Johanson .... adr engineer
Richard King .... assistant sound editor
Sylvia Menno .... dialogue editor
James Nichols .... consultant: Dolby Sound
Glenfield Payne .... sound effects editor
Jay Peck .... foley artist
Christophe Penchenat .... boom operator
Sarah Jean Porter .... apprentice sound editor (as Sarah Porter)
Li Qian .... assistant to sound department
David Wahnon .... dialogue editor
Mike Wood .... adr editor
Ryan Collison .... foley engineer (uncredited)
Mark DeSimone .... adr mixer: New York (uncredited)
Peter Gleaves .... adr mixer (uncredited)
Margot Massie .... sound (uncredited)
Dan Murphy .... sound syncist (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
David Fletcher .... special effects supervisor
Thomas Kittle .... special effects foreman (as Tom Kittle)
Rick Sun .... special effects department translator
Zhu Weiyuan .... special effects: SFS
 
Visual Effects by
Doug Compton .... animator: Asterisk
J. John Corbett .... digital artist: Big Film Design
Quan Han Dong .... animation designer: Asterisk
Brian O'Connell .... creative supervisor: Asterisk
Richard O'Connor .... animation producer: Asterisk
Janos Pilenyi .... optical supervisor: Cineric (as Janos O. Pilenyi)
Ariel Enriquez Saulog .... digital supervisor: Cineric
Winnie Tom .... animator: Asterisk
Jamie Hediger .... digital compositor (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
John Bailie .... focus puller: UK
Qian Defeng .... camera grip
Tommy Finch .... gaffer: UK
Kin Kwong Ho .... second focus puller (as Ho Kin Kwong)
Po Wing Ho .... dolly grip
Jianmin Ji .... gaffer (as Ji Jianming)
Zhao Kaiyou .... camera grip
Tomoko Kikuchi .... still photographer
Yiu-Fai Lai .... director of photography: second unit (as Lai Yiu Fai)
Tony Pierce-Roberts .... director of photography: UK
Li Qiang .... Steadicam operator
Chun Chung Tsang .... first focus puller (as Tsang Chun Chung)
Jiandong Wen .... lighting best boy
Dejun Yang .... camera grip (as Yang Dejun)
Jiandong Yu .... lamp operator
 
Casting Department
James Calleri .... additional casting
Matt Eaton .... extras casting assistant
Patrick Kelly .... casting assistant to producer
Jennifer Wang .... extras casting assistant
Zuanqing Wang .... casting coordinator: SFS
Xu Wiguang .... casting coordinator: SFS
Alex Johnson .... casting assistant (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Rosie Grant .... wardrobe mistress
Antonny Luo .... translator: costume department
Sheena Napier .... associate costume designer
Philip O'Connor .... costume assistant (as Phil O'Connor)
Richard Sale .... wardrobe master
Yingjuan Xiao .... wardrobe master: SFS (as Xiao Yingjuan)
Meng Xie .... assistant to costume designer (as Meg Xie)
Cunzhong Zhang .... wardrobe master: SFS (as Zhang Cunzhong)
 
Editorial Department
Leo Bahas .... negative cutter: Atlab Australia
James Cohen .... assistant editor
Olivier Fontenay .... colorist: Atlab Australia
Giles Gardner .... first assistant editor
John Hill .... first assistant editor (as John Andrew Hill)
Vicki McRitchie .... negative cutter: Atlab Australia (as Vicki Mcritchie)
Vijay Sekhon .... assistant editor
Xiaoming Zhang .... post-production consultant
John Dowdell .... telecine colorist (uncredited)
 
Music Department
David Bahanovich .... musical consultant: Russiann historical music
Andrew Burashko .... musician: piano solo
Martin Erskine .... musical arrangement: additional arrangements
Martin Erskine .... orchestrator
Tass Filipos .... music editor
Roger Flock .... musician: percussion
George Gao .... musician: erhu
Jamie Hopkings .... conductor
Jamie Hopkings .... orchestrator
John Huie .... musician: Shanghai jazz
Lui Li .... musician: Chinese qui
Cory Mandel .... scoring mixer: Toronto
Andy Morris .... musician: percussion
Morgan Neville .... assistant to composer
Mark Skazinetsky .... concertmaster
Chen Tao .... musician: Chinese flute
Yong Li Xie .... musician: zheng
Ron Korb .... musician: flutes (uncredited)
 
Transportation Department
Zhongshu Tao .... transportation captain (as Tao Zhongshu)
 
Other crew
Catherine Allinson .... script supervisor
Karole Armitage .... choreographer
Brooks Baldwin .... dialect coach
Randall Balsmeyer .... main title designer: Big Film Design (as Randy Balsmeyer)
Kate Barker-Froyland .... electronic press kit (as Kate Barker)
Susan H. Bodine .... production counsel (as Susan Bodine)
Michael Chai .... assistant accountant
Zoe Chen .... liaison: Shanghai
Kris Chung .... assistant: Ismail Merchant
Melissa Chung .... production coordinator
Lin Chuxiong .... location production coordinator
Lanny Dong .... assistant production coordinator
Kerstin Dyroff .... production coordinator: VIP
Florian Harms .... legal advisor: VIP
He Jin .... translator: SFS
David Kempski .... production assistant: production office
Sunil Kirparam .... production accountant
Lisa Li .... production assistant
Leonora Lonsdale .... runner: assistant director department
Eva Neufahrt .... production controller: VIP (as Eva Marie Neufahrt)
Berit Norrenberg .... legal advisor: VIP (as Berit Wetzel)
Simon Oxley .... production coordinator: UK
Claudia Sendlbeck-Schickor .... tax advisor: VIP, McDermott
Armen Stevens .... assistant to producers
Ingrid Sun .... assistant: Ralph Fiennes
Christie Wang .... translator
Minnie Wang .... assistant: Natasha Richardson
Young Yongling .... production assistant
Su Yongwei .... assistant location manager
Minhua Yu .... production runner
Marilyn Zhuang .... translator: assistant director department
Miranda Zhuang .... translator: location department
Josef Brandmaier .... financing (uncredited)
Zhi Ying Dong .... assistant production coordinator (uncredited)
Kelly Messias .... assistant: Ralph Fiennes (uncredited)
Darren O'Connell .... floor runner: aditional photography (uncredited)
Ayca Sadikoglu .... production assistant (uncredited)
Geoffrey Stott .... dailies supervisor (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Chris Humphrey .... grateful thanks: Virgin Atlantic
Paolo Mantini .... with gratitude to
Richard Soames .... special thanks: FIlm Finances Inc.
David Tang .... special thanks
 
Crew believed to be complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
135 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
In preparation for his role, Ralph Fiennes observed a blind man's average day with help from the Royal Society for the Blind. During the shoot he would wear special glasses to simulate blindness before each take.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: The story takes place in 1936, but a US 50-star flag is featured at the racetrack. This should have been a 48-star flag.See more »
Quotes:
Sofia:If you have any objections, kindly go to hell.
Todd Jackson:You tell 'em!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Sweet LorraineSee more »

FAQ

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54 out of 75 people found the following review useful.
Wonderful cast let down by dreary direction, 2 January 2006
Author: Michael Moricz (MCMoricz@aol.com) from Astoria, NY

Sorry to say that despite the incredible pedigree of everyone concerned, this film was disappointing. It is beautifully shot and designed, with all the elegance and taste that one comes to expect from Merchant-Ivory, and of course the literary sensibility seems even more marked due to the scripting by Kazuo Ishiguro.

But the film is lifeless. It has plenty of aesthetic style but it has no momentum or vigor. The very accomplished performances by a truly wonderful cast are somewhat wasted when the pace is so glacial and the overall sense of film-making seems so stodgy and fatigued.

I am reminded of how frustrating I found, years ago, Merchant-Ivory's adaptation of Ishiguro's REMAINS OF THE DAY to be, despite again a stellar cast. I know there are people who would disagree strongly with me, but all the fascinating tragic interior sense of the butler's thoughts that made the book so absorbing and moving could not be communicated in a motion picture, no matter how talented an actor Anthony Hopkins is, so we wound up spending a couple of hours looking at a great actor nearly expressionless as he worked so hard to make his proper and repressed character neither register any emotions on his face nor express any in what he said.

Here again we have the same problem. There are huge emotions under the surface here, but because of the foreground sense of repression (and because of the cool-to-the-point-of-leisurely-and-moribund film-making style) we wind up watching Ralph Fiennes do his own version of Hopkins' "sorry, I can't say or feel or show anything because my character is supposed to be so repressed" act.

Granted, these are essential, trademark issues in Ishiguro's work. But it seems that without the vivid interior turmoil so eloquently expressed in his prose to help illuminate the character's stoicism, the result on screen is just....bland. Natasha Richardson fares much, much better, since her character need not be as repressed. And her performance is stunning. And John Wood makes the most out of what is essentially a TWO-LINE role(!!).

Actually, the whole Russian family is handled as a tour-de-force by the acting ensemble, and probably would have been enough to really put this picture over-the-top had not the fatally inexpressive scenes of Jackson and Matsuda ballasted the work into such a torpor. Some of this heaviness is admittedly inherent in Ishiguro's script, but I sense the very same words could have been imbued with the same gravity without nearly the somnambulent wooziness Ivory has made out of them.

I am an unabashed fan of Merchant-Ivory's work, and am saddened by the recent death of Ismail Merchant. The team of Merchant/Ivory/Ruth Prawer Jhabvala/Richard Robbins has created some real cinematic milestones. Two of the Forster adaptations are masterpieces, and many of the Indian films are rare gems. So I'm not one of those who find this dynasty to be too "artsy" or whatever other criticisms have been leveled at them by impatient filmgoers.

Yet "impatience" is indeed what I ultimately felt with this plodding execution. It was a frustrating experience, not the least because I could see how close Ivory was to achieving what he must have wanted to achieve, and how hard everyone must have worked to create that sense of Shanghai on the eve of its tragic invasion by the Japanese. It has all the elements of a great epic, but fails to become one due almost completely to the weirdly anemic sense of passionless, momentumless, drearily uninspired film-making.

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