Long Live the Wife, a lively and well-acted comedy, is celebrated fiction writer Eileen Chang's second script. Following immediately from Love without End (1947), it proved to be another ...
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A young man tries to get away from his family's overwhelming power, but when he accidentally kills a local thug, his fate will be intricately linked to his father's. A woman, who for years ... See full summary »
1930's China. The village of a poor family is taken over by the occupying Japanese army. One son, Zhongliang, leaves his wife and young son to join a medic group for the Chinese Army. The ... See full summary »
Fishing village girl Ling Ling sets off to look for her cousin in Shanghai. She soon finds out that Shanghai is a city full of vice: she is raped, sold into prostitution, and later becomes ... See full summary »
The Eunuch of the Emperor has ordered the commander of his army condemned to death for betrayal and insurrection. The commander's family was was murdered to cut off his bloodline, but his ... See full summary »
Long Live the Wife, a lively and well-acted comedy, is celebrated fiction writer Eileen Chang's second script. Following immediately from Love without End (1947), it proved to be another financially successful collaboration with director Sang Hu for Wenhua Film Studio. The film is centred on the figure of Chen Sizhen (Jiang Tianliu) whose marriage to Tang Zhiyuan (Zhang Fa), an ambitious bank clerk and a typical Shanghai xiao shi min (petty urbanite), is dull. Their relationship is unromantic and she fails to bear him a son. Nonetheless she tries to be a good housewife. Their universe spins into turmoil when Tang starts an affair with a glamorous woman, Zhu Mimi (Shangguan Yunzhu), who cares for nothing but his money. A crisis ensues. Long Live the Wife reveals the impending collapse of patriarchal authority and women's attempts at extricating themselves from this social predicament. Chang's screenplay also radically underlines the ambiguity of moral choices. Written by
Soap opera avant-la-lettre? Hmm.. Lifestyles of the (lesser) Rich and Famous? In a way.. Half-way screwball comedy? I don't find a perfectly fitting label for this quite entertaining film.
It's about two families in Shanghai after 1945, but (of course) before "liberation" in 1949, presided by father in one, and mother in the other, cross-joined by one married couple, while their siblings plan to marry too.
So we get shown quite some views of bourgeois life - lying, cheating, adultering, embezzling, founding a company and bankrupting it, divorce, etc. The dialogs are sometimes vitriolic, yet fun for their outspokenness. I liked the scene best when the cheated wife settles accounts with the mistress - that exposed a strong acting energy.
In general, an enjoyable society study from a short pre-"liberation" peace period, which ends like a romantic comedy. Not much action, but fun because of the dialogs. 7/10.
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