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Yao a yao, yao dao wai po qiao (1995)

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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.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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 »

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Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Classics

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Language:

Release Date:

22 December 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shanghai Triad  »

Filming Locations:


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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,300,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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

 
Amazingly beautiful but not particularly involving
15 April 2008 | by See all my reviews

This story is told through the eyes of a boy who has just begun working as an underling for a Chinese mobster in the 1930s. It seems the young man is the servant to the mistress of the triad chief and he is treated, at times, more like a slave than a person. The lady is quite beautiful but also seemed very petulant and foolish throughout the film--making it very surprising indeed that this boy bonded so quickly with the lady. Had I been in the boy's place, I probably would have taken the first chance to either poison her or run!

SHANGHAI TRIAD was nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar and this certainly isn't surprising when you see this film. It's actually pretty rare for a foreign film to get this nomination, but this movie was one of the most artistic films I have seen in ages. The camera-work is great--with the wonderful use of filters, excellent framing techniques and grand colors.

Unfortunately, while the film is very beautiful, the story itself is too often sterile and one of its main characters (played by Gong Li) is just too unlikable--seeming like a complete brat. While the mob boss is quite amoral and vicious, at least you didn't find yourself hating him quite as much--especially since he was a smart guy. Additionally, all too often, events occur off-screen and you only hear about them or catch glimpses of the results--giving the film very little energy. Fortunately, despite being slow, the film does end very well with some interesting twists--but not quite enough to redeem the film. Overall, it's very watchable but with more energy and a more involving story, it could have been so much better.


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