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Zi mei hua (1934)
Explaining the Ambiguous Ending
As others who have seen this film have noted, the ending is rather ambiguous, with seemingly nothing resolved other than the two sisters and their mother getting back together. That is because there was a sequel, "Zaisheng Hua" (Reborn Blossoms), which has not survived. The two parts were filmed together in 1933, then released as two movies in 1934 and 1935.
Does it count as a spoiler to divulge the ending of a movie that no longer exists? I'll risk it: when the sisters get back to the warlord's mansion, they learn that the warlord's spies have located the rebel forces mentioned in part one, and he has left with his army to launch a surprise attack. Then a new character shows up looking for Erbao, none other than the rebel commander. Toward the end of part one, Erbao mentions that she had once arranged a marriage for herself, but her father's own ambitions forced her to break it off and marry the warlord. Well, guess who the rebel commander is? Anyway, Erbao becomes much more of an activist in the sequel, helping the rebels overthrow the warlord and reuniting with her lost first love. Casting note: the rebel commander in the sequel was played by Dan Zhao, a newcomer at the time who became one of China's top stars in a career that lasted into the 1960s.
Dai hao mei zhou bao (1989)
Not at the top of his game
A vaguely-defined Asian terrorist organization highjacks a Taiwan airliner and lands it on the Chinese mainland. As the plane sits on the ground and the hijackers make their demands, the Beijing and Taibei governments must work together to rescue the hostages.
Every great director comes up with a clunker now and then, and this is Zhang's. This is a routine action thriller with lots of Western-style violence and gore, and probably the only reason Zhang made it was to deliver its political message of the desirability of mainland-Taiwan cooperation and eventual reunification. The only justification I can see for this film was to appease the Chinese government, which was even then looking over his shoulder. In any event, this is certainly the most forgettable film Zhang every made and while it earned a Best Supporting Actress award in China for Li Gong, it has little else to recommend it.