Chinaman (2005)
"Kinamand" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  1 April 2005 (Denmark)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,305 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 9 critic

In order to pay for his divorce, a plumber marries a Chinese woman who needs citizenship.


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Credited cast:
Bjarne Henriksen ...
Lin Kun Wu ...
Paw Henriksen ...
Chapper Kim ...
Sagsbehandler Statsamt
Politimand #1 (as Peder Pedersen)
Politimand 2
Mathias Sparre-Ulrich ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jeppe Kaas ...
Johan Rabaeus ...
Mogens Rex ...
Party Guest (as Noi Amponpunt)


Keld, an overweight, uninspired Danish plumber, is alone. When his bored, frustrated wife leaves him, he begins to eat dinner at the family-run Chinese take-out across the street. Working methodically through the numbered menu, he finds an unexpected friend in Feng, a genial man with his own concerns. Keld helps fix the plumbing in the diner, and then Feng asks for assistance with another problem: his Chinese sister requires a marriage of convenience to stay in Denmark. Enter Ling (Vivan Wu), a young woman who is not at all comfortable with this "strictly pro-forma" arrangement. Over time, Ling's gentle influence brings Keld into a world of tradition, full of surprising rewards and life-changing affection. This romantic tale has the fairy tale feel of what just might happen when people fall in love. Written by lovely_salome

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Release Date:

1 April 2005 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Chinaman  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Mette Horn was originally cast as the neighbor of Keld, but her role was cut from the film. On the DVD, there are some deleted scenes with her, and she is mentioned in the credits under thanks. See more »


Featured in Easy Skanking (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Chinaman a very good first
2 April 2005 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

Somebody wrote in a film chat that Vivian Wu is the most beautiful woman in a Danish film ever. She surely is the most beautiful woman in this film, and once she figured on a list of some hundred most beautiful people in the world, though according to my Chinese friends she is not a beauty by Chinese standards. Her presence in this film however is unquestionably delightful. I ascribe this to the camera work, the way she is dressed up and, of course, her beauty.

The way she dresses together with her cooking and decoration skills brings about a marvelous atmosphere enhanced further by the Deng Lijun songs from the early 80s like Yueliang daibiao wode xin and believe it or not Bjørn Tidemanns Lille Sommerfugl. It is not normal (realistic) to wear a qipao (traditional Chinese dress) every day or otherwise dress up for a party every day and the atmosphere is not realistic either. I guess Ling and the atmosphere around her should be seen as a symbol of the mystic and beautiful traditional Chinese culture on a trivial, gray, realistic, modern Copenhagen working class backdrop.

Chinaman is clearly inspired by In the Mood for Love by Wong Karwai; a great choice for inspiration! This is seen in the mood created by slow pace takes of Ling's qipao swaying forth and back to her sensual body moves. In In the Mood for Love, which is also a film where love is implied rather than becoming fleshly, Maggie Cheung changes qipao about 50 times. In Chinaman the focus is on Ling's earrings on which, along with her hips and eyes, the camera lingers. Thereby we as well as Keld (Bjarne Henriksen) are seduced by female and Chinese mystery. I guess it is also for the good of mystery that the Chinese dialogs are not subtitled. It keeps the common Danish viewer just as uninformed as the Danish main character about what is going on.

Chapter headings consisting of Chinese sentences for beginners relate by hint what we are going to see. Overall they seem stupid to me; an original idea that should have been killed, but then there is the mistake! There is a chapter heading that goes something like Will you marry me?, which is also written correctly in Chinese signs but the tape voice says "yi bi hao jiaoyi" - "a good deal". So this "mistake" made on purpose actually points out what the marriage between Keld and Ling is - business, which by the way is also what Keld calls all things he wants to avoid explaining to Ling.

At one point in the film Keld's otherwise gentle temper blows and he delivers an outburst of angry complains that Ling can't speak Danish and other right-wing cliché attitudes. Anyway, Ling's reply in Chinese is much more to the point. She has been sweet and serving so when not appreciated she complains that he never does any house work and that her clothes are smelly from his smoking and that had it been her own house he would have had to smoke outside. Unfortunately he doesn't understand her words, but his next move is to learn to say sorry (duibuqi) which turns out to be important.

Chinese culture is presented here as refined, superior, traditional and beautiful compared to the Danish plumper, his wife and their son. The film offers great respect to Chinese culture. Thanks!

This is the first Chinese Danish film and it is a very good first! I have watched many Chinese Westerner films and I am sure Chinaman is one of the best. 8/10

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