Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2011)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, History  |  24 June 2011 (China)
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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 »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bank CEO
Nina / Lily
Snow Flower / Sophia (as Gianna Jun)
Coco Chiang ...
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
Danping Shen ...
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.
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User Reviews

A winner is ""Snow Flower And The Secret Fan".
9 February 2012 | by (Houston, Texas) – See all my reviews

Wayne Wang has directed another winner, "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". It is a well designed "chick flick" that overcomes ones emotions to the point of great empathy for both the characters and the eras in which it is set. Bingbing Li plays Nina/Lily, and Gianna Jun stars as Snow Flower/Sophia. They are like blood sisters who rotate back and forth from the 19th to the 21st centuries. The story is compelling. The religious and cultural overtones are educational and well depicted. The scenes in Shanghai as well as Australia are vistas that hold one in awe. It is a Drama worth viewing and now is on Blu Ray DVD and worth the effort for the clarity of sound and visual effect. The music is especially well adapted to the film and provides another reason for the extra effect of a good sound system.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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