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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2011)

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A story set in nineteenth-century China and focusing on the life-long friendship between two girls who develop their own secret code as a way to contend with the rigid social norms imposed on women.



(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Ron Bass) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Bank CEO
Nina / Lily
Snow Flower / Sophia (as Gianna Jun)
Hu Qing Yun ...
Mrs. Liao
Shiping Cao ...
Mr. Wei (as Shi Ping Cao)
Ruijia Zhang ...
Mrs. Wei
Zhebing Gong ...
Lilia Zhou ...
Congmeng Guo ...
Little Lily
Lily's Mother
Yan Dai ...
Little Snow Flower
Yulan Xu ...
Snow Flower's Mother


In 19th-century China, seven year old girls Snow Flower and Lily are matched as laotong - or "old sames" - bound together for eternity. Isolated by their families, they furtively communicate by taking turns writing in a secret language, nu shu, between the folds of a white silk fan. In a parallel story in present day Shanghai, the laotong's descendants, Nina and Sophia, struggle to maintain the intimacy of their own childhood friendship in the face of demanding careers, complicated love lives, and a relentlessly evolving Shanghai. Drawing on the lessons of the past, the two modern women must understand the story of their ancestral connection, hidden from them in the folds of the antique white silk fan, or risk losing one another forever. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality, violence/disturbing images and drug use | See all certifications »


Official Sites:





Release Date:

24 June 2011 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Der Seidenfächer  »

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$134,005 (USA) (15 July 2011)


$1,346,503 (USA) (23 September 2011)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rupert Murdoch personally asked Fox Searchlight to release this film in North America. See more »


The last paragraphs of the unsent letter that Nina found in Sophias apartment, which can be seen when she closes the notebook, don't match Nina's voice-over. See more »


[first lines]
Bank CEO: People say I'm sending Sebastian and Nina to New york so neither will take my job. Hey, perhaps that's partly true. You know, like these butterflies that surround us this evening, it's a time of transformation, new beginnings.
See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderfully emotional and beautiful...
23 December 2015 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

Not having seen "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" before now in 2015 was a really big mistake on my account, because this movie is nothing short of spectacular. This is really a beautiful movie, and it is a definite must watch for anyone who enjoy cinema that offers something astounding.

The movie is really nicely set up as it skips back and forth between present day China and ancient China, as we follow two sisters in the heart throughout the ages. And director Wayne Wang captured some really beautiful moments of sisterhood, love, friendship and loyalty.

"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" has a really good cast, and I must admit that I was more than pleasantly surprised to see talented Korean actresse Ji-hyun Jun starring in this movie, and she really carried the movie so well. And right up there beside her was Bingbing Li with her equally impressive performance. Put together Jun and Li really shined on the screen with amazing chemistry.

A movie is nothing with a proper soundtrack, and the music in "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" was majestic and almost ethereal. The score for this movie was so well-composed and complimented the movie quite well.

The wardrobe, setting and scenery for "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" was quite good, and there was a lot of nice details to be found in just about every scene.

This is a very emotional story that was quite nicely put on the screen by director Wayne Wang, and the movie does spur an interest to read Lisa See's novel to fully get every detail to this story that spans the ages.

"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" is a beautiful movie that is well-worth watching and should be watched by anyone who enjoy the finer moments in cinema.

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