Everlasting Regret (2005)
"Changhen ge" (original title)

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A person's life is destined to be shorter than that of a city. Having spent her whole life in Shanghai, Qiyao has her moments of prosperity and her fair share of loneliness. She finally ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
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Credited cast:
Wang Qiyao
Mr. Cheng
Officer Li
Kang Mingxun
Jue Huang ...
Duan Wenfang (as Lan Yan)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Haofeng Cheng ...
Hei-Yi Cheng ...
Yi Huang ...
Yan Su ...
Zheng Wei Tan ...
Official Responsible for Implementing Policies
Lin Yan


A person's life is destined to be shorter than that of a city. Having spent her whole life in Shanghai, Qiyao has her moments of prosperity and her fair share of loneliness. She finally fades and disappears but Shanghai remains a metropolitan city. Shanghai in the 1930s is glamorous and seductive. A pretty young girl from an ordinary family, Qiyao is lucky enough to win the 2nd runner-up of the "Miss Shanghai" contest. Mr. Cheng, her admirer as well as a photographer who assists her to her success, knows the girl is going to live an extraordinary life. It turns out she is going to witness the decades of changes to her city. 1948, Officer Li, an official in control of the army, keeps her as his lover. During the time, she spends her life at the Parliament ballroom, accompanies him through dangerous situations, and tries to devote all of herself to a man she believes she can spend the rest of her life with. But one day, he disappears and does not return. She never gets to find out the ... Written by Athena Tsui

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

29 September 2005 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Everlasting Regret  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,075 (Hong Kong) (14 October 2005)


$386,736 (Hong Kong) (14 October 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


References The Yearling (1946) See more »


Everlasting Regret
(Theme Song)
Performed by Sammi Cheng
See more »

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User Reviews

An exercise in casting
29 September 2005 | by (Hong Kong) – See all my reviews

With all the local hype from it's entry to the Venice festival, "Everlasting Regret" turned out to be an anticlimax. A local critic who has read the book wonders why all the intriguing details have been cut out, leaving a bland, banal shell of a plot. I have not read the book. Based on the script, I have a thought that director Kwan would be better off taking a gamble, making this a 150 minute epic, which will either give the audience enough flesh and bone to keep them intrigued or bore them to death. He didn't and we end up having an average length 115 minute movie that is too fragmented and scanty in details to allow the audience to feel any real empathy. Maybe the reason why he didn't is the shrewd realization that a 150- minute epic needs a certain level of acting to carry it, but I'll come to that later.

The story takes us through the life of a Shanghainese woman Wang Qiyao (Sammi Cheng) from schoolgirl to middle-aged woman, focusing on her relationships with several men who wander in and out of her life. One, however, stays from beginning to end, a mentor cum guardian angel figure played beautifully by Leung Ka-fai. As a matter of fact, the names of Leung and Cheng lead off in the opening credit and the story is narrated with voice over from Leung's character.

Another "star" of the movie is supposedly Shanghai, from the war years, through the Cultural Revolution, to the eighties. Yet, the only thing we see of the city is a faded picture of The Bund. Whether William Cheung's artful mise-en-scene can be deemed to represent Shanghai is a point to be debated.

Deserving compliment is the cast. Leung is at his very best, playing the devoted photographer who never once shouted to Wang Qiyao until near last scene. He actually has his own stories, with his wife as well as with his "good friend" Lili, which were barely touched on. If anybody in this movie has any claim to an award, it's Leung. Lili, who initially introduced Leung's character to Wang Qiyao, is played by Mainland actress Su Yan, whose every nuance tells of her good acting academy training. Veteran Hu Jun is ever so dependable, playing the only man who really has Wang Qiyao's heart. And yes, Daniel Wu with a mustache is cute, if nothing else.

At the end of the day, the soul of the movie is Wang Qiyao. What kind of a woman is she – educated, independent, rebellious, pleasure seeking, devoted, all of the above, and more? Sammi Cheng tried very hard but unfortunately, more often than not, her blank stare can be taken quite literally. I like her modesty and humility in the radio interviews (I heard 4 of them on one single day, for heaven's sake) saying that all she wanted to do was to try something different from her traditional cutie roles. But Wang Qiyao, I think, is a little too big a step for her to take. Doing something like what Meg Ryan did with "In the cut" or, better still, Kate Hudson with "Skeleton key" would have been a much better move.

So it boils down to my summary line – the post-movie breeze-shooting turned into an exercise in casting. Maggie Cheung has been offered the role and turned it down. Stanley Kwan's first choice, reportedly, was actually lovely Wu Chien-lien, who has been sorely missed by her fans since her 1997 appearance in "Ban sheng yuan" (her cameo appearance in Jianghu last year was tantalizingly brief). She would have made a good Wang Qiyao. Other choices that were brought up were Taiwan's Rene Liu, who can certainly act but may not have that elusive Shanghainese air, and Hollywood's Vivian Wu, who was actually born in Shanghai and would be a good choice (remember her in "The Soong Sisters"?). But even Su Yan, who plays Lili, would be a better choice than Sammi Cheng. One would only need to watch the scene when they appear together to see why.

10 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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