6.8/10
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Letter from an Unknown Woman (2004)

Yi ge mo sheng nu ren de lai xin (original title)
Peking, 1948. A winter night. A man returns home to find a letter awaiting him written by a woman before her death. in the letter she tells him the story of her love for him -a life-long ... See full summary »

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4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jue Huang ...
The Officer / Captain Huang
...
Writer / Mr. Xu
Huang Jiao ...
Officer Huang
Yuan Lin ...
Girl
Enran Ma ...
Stepfather
Xiaoming Su ...
Mother
Zihao Su ...
Son
Feihu Sun ...
Steward
Jinglei Xu ...
Woman / Miss Jiang
Baomo Zhang ...
Landlady
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Storyline

Peking, 1948. A winter night. A man returns home to find a letter awaiting him written by a woman before her death. in the letter she tells him the story of her love for him -a life-long passion that has not diminished over time, but one that he has never known. her story spans 18 years from the moment she -then a 13 year-old girl- sets her eyes on her new neighbor. she tells their brief but passionate love in her youthi the hardship she goes through raising their child alone, and their final encounter after the war, during which the man fails tor ecognize her and one which leaves her in despair. Now having lost her son, she no longer has the courage to live on. Only in a letter is she capable of telling him everything, for the first and the last time. shaken by the letter, the man searches his memory for the nameless woman. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

4 March 2005 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Carta de una mujer desconocida  »

Box Office

Budget:

CNY 20,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When the man brings the woman to his home in the "Six years later" segment (which takes place in the late 1930s), the woman brushes her hand against the spine of the second volume of the World Book Dictionary as she admires his books. The first edition of the dictionary was published in 1963. See more »

Connections

Version of Valkoiset ruusut (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

 
So pretty and so deadened--a superficial reworking of an emotional classic
19 September 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Letter from an Unknown Woman (2004)

I got this in the mail by mistake, but was thrilled to see a contemporary Chinese adaptation of the famous story by Stefan Zweig. The lush, fluid Max Ophuls version from 1948 would have to wait.

But hopefully not for long. This one, filmed with the common "pretty" cinematography of a lot of contemporary epics and romances, is really adequate on the surface. I say that without sarcasm, because it does gradually and slowly (too slowly) tell the story. It lingers on pretty details, it luxuriates in mood and in the passing of time, and it inserts some historical particulars that make it its own film (namely the Japanese aggression on China as WWII approaches and then unleashes). All of this goes almost nowhere emotionally, or even in a narrative sense, mostly because it is simply presented, rather than organically unfolded.

I think it might be enjoyable for its ambiance, and for a nostalgic look at an earlier China. The story is given what it needs to make sense, but is overwrought in a way the Ophuls film, by some magic, is not, even though it's the same melodrama at hand. Maybe it is partly an issue of good old acting and directing--a lack of truly penetrating acting is plain enough, but the direction avoids some of the great possibilities with even these two main leads, often watching them from afar or without words. This can work beautifully in film, of course, but it takes a different kind of poetry to pull off.

So, the appearances of a moving, great movie only.


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