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Shanghai Triad (1995)

Yao a yao, yao dao wai po qiao (original title)
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A provincial boy related to a Shanghai crime family is recruited by his uncle into cosmopolitan Shanghai in the 1930s to be a servant to a ganglord's mistress.

Director:

Yimou Zhang

Writers:

Bi Feiyu, Li Xiao (novel)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Li Gong ... Xiao Jingbao
Baotian Li ... Tang, the Gang Boss
Xiaoxiao Wang Xiaoxiao Wang ... Shuisheng, the boy
Xuejian Li ... Liu, 6th Uncle
Chun Sun Chun Sun ... Song, Tang's No. 2
Biao Fu Biao Fu ... Zheng, Tang's No.3
Shu Chen Shu Chen ... Shi Ye
Jiang Liu Jiang Liu ... Fat Yu
Baoying Jiang Baoying Jiang ... Cuihua, the Widow
Qianquan Yang Qianquan Yang ... Ah Jiao
Ying Gao Ying Gao
Weiming Gao Weiming Gao
Shuliang Lian Shuliang Lian
Ya'nan Wang Ya'nan Wang
Zhang Yayun Zhang Yayun
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Storyline

Uncle Liu brings his cousin to Shanghai to work for 'Boss,' the leader of a powerful drug empire in the 1930's. Shuisheng, a simple country boy is awed and overwhelmed by the opulence and immense wealth he is suddenly surrounded by. He is to be the attendant of Xiao Jingbao, the new mistress of 'Boss.' While he fumbles with the demands of his new role, much intrigue is going on around him, well beyond his bewildered perception. Xiao Jingbao is having a tumultuous affair, Fat Yu is starting a gang war, and 'Boss' is beginning to suspect that one of his trusted men is not loyal. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

triad | china | shanghai | uncle | mistress | See All (71) »

Taglines:

In 1930's Shanghai violence was not the problem. It was the solution.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and images of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Classics

Country:

France | China

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

22 December 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shanghai Triad See more »

Filming Locations:

Shanghai, China

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$209,098, 25 December 1995

Gross USA:

$2,086,101

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,086,101
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was a difficult film for Yimou Zhang to make. His relationship with his leading lady Li Gong was coming to an acrimonious end and the Chinese authorities were deliberately hassling him with complicated and elusive work permits. That was mainly because they were still annoyed with him for submitting his previous film To Live (1994) to the Cannes Film Festival without their permission. See more »

Quotes

Xiao Jingbao: You know the rule - your ass is your own, but if you get fondled in here, the money is mine.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 68th Annual Academy Awards (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Visually outstanding
14 June 2003 | by simon_boothSee all my reviews

A young boy is brought to 1930's Shanghai from the countryside to be the manservant of a gang boss's mistress. The mistress (Gong Li) is a glamourous nightclub singer and a royal bitch. Soon after he arrives, the boy is witness to a power play in the underworld that results in the uncovering of lots of treachery and quite a bit of violence.

It's a nicely constructed story with good acting from everybody involved. It's fairly straightforward, but satisfying, and seeing the gang land activity from the perspectives of two outsiders makes it all the more interesting.

SHANGHAI TRIAD became my favourite Zhang Yimou film when I saw it some years ago, for the simple reason that it was one of the most beautiful films I'd seen. The production design, costumes, lighting and camerawork are all quite remarkable - creating stunning images from the opulence of Shanghai's nightclubs and mansions to the simplicity of the rural island where the second half of the film takes place.

Unfortunately, the R1 DVD fails to do the film justice. The colours are far too subdued, giving the film a rather lifeless look, and the demon of the digital age, Edge Enhancement, rears its ugly head again. The result looks rather like a VHS transfer, but I'd swear in court that the film looked a lot better on my UK VHS copy (mainly because of the colours). Poor Zhang Yimou, he hardly ever seems to get good representation on DVD.

The film is recommended for fans of Zhang Yimou or Gong Li, though without the vibrant cinematography the film wouldn't be ranked as his best by many people. If you've already got the film on VHS, it's not worth "upgrading" to the DVD though.


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