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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   4,516 votes »
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Down 19% 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:
An in-depth look at The White Countess 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:
The racehorse scene uses stock footage taken from Seabiscuit (2003).See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: When Katya is having her hair combed, a fly lands on her forehead - and then jumps onto the camera lens.See more »
Quotes:
Sofia:If you have any objections, kindly go to hell.
Todd Jackson:You tell 'em!
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Camptown RacesSee more »

FAQ

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22 out of 23 people found the following review useful.
An in-depth look at The White Countess, 1 July 2006
Author: tomosterbind from Birmingham, Alabama

The White Countess achieves the "perfect balance of romance and tragedy." It is the story of two broken souls who each end up being the remedy to the other's fall from grace. While this description may not point to anything extraordinary on its own, Natasha Richardson (Countess Sophia Belinsky) and Ralph Fiennes (Todd Jackson) dazzle us with outstanding performances in this final Merchant-Ivory film. Superb acting, complex characters, and visually stunning sets make for a realistic, timeless five-star drama.

Ralph Fiennes plays the role of Todd Jackson, a disillusioned American ex-diplomat. The loss of his family and vision to Chinese-Japanese political turmoil destroy his hopes and prospects for the world. The disappointment in the stagnant progress of the League of Nations drives Jackson away from the desperate political scene, and he attempts to shut out all reminders of an uncontrollable painful world. He goes on spending his time frequenting Shanghai's classiest bars, surrounding himself in luxury and warmth. He finds friendship in a Japanese man named Matsuda who shares his dreams to create the perfect bar. People warn Jackson that Matsuda is a feared political revolutionary; however, this has no impact on their relationship—Jackson has completely shut the doors to the outside world. Fiennes expertly sticks to his character delivering the heavy, demanding lines with eloquence while appearing to be truly blind.

In his quest to create this perfect bar he runs into Countess Sophia Belinsky a Russian Aristocrat who has fled to Shanghai escape the Bolshevik Revolution. She is living with her late husband's family and her daughter, Katya. She single-handedly supports them by prostituting herself despite their assailment and complete lack of gratitude. Jackson finds in her the perfect balance of romance and tragedy and asks her to be the centerpiece of his bar and names it of her. Natasha Richardson emanates a deep sadness and longing for a once beautiful world and lets the audience feel what Jackson finds in Countess Sophia.

The two of them succeed in creating their own controllable world. With the right music, the right crowd, and a sense of political tension, Jackson feels he has made his dream come true. However, at the end of the night, Countess Sophia must return to the slums and the outside world with all its troubles and other unpredictable variables. As Jackson's relationship with Sophia develops, he begins to realize the impracticality of his "heavy doors". This accompanied with Matsuda's luring of a "broader canvas" slowly cause Jackson to emerge from his shell. At the end of the film, Jackson and Sophia return to the outside world together with a new hope found in one another.

The themes of isolation and alienation are rampant in this film and occur on many levels. Sophia is shut off from her family and eventually abandoned because of her disgraceful job. Jackson is blind physically and mentally from the real world. They are strangers in a foreign country, a country whose sole foreign policy for the past several centuries has been isolationism (they built a wall to keep people out). These instances are not simply strewn about but are intricately woven into the plot to create a deeper, more meaningful story.

The White Countess explores devastation and new hope, heartbreak and new love, and shows us the hopelessness of walls and cages. We can always close our eyes but that doesn't mean everything around us will disappear.

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