Not far from Shanghai, in a country town stands the palatial home of the Pang family. Old Master Pang is an addict who brings up his beautiful daughter Ruyi on opium smoke. Her older ...
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When a leprous winery owner in 1930s China dies a few days after his arranged marriage, his young widow is forced to run the winery to make a living while contending with bandits, her drunkard lover, and the invading Japanese army.
Not far from Shanghai, in a country town stands the palatial home of the Pang family. Old Master Pang is an addict who brings up his beautiful daughter Ruyi on opium smoke. Her older brother, Zhengda, is addicted as well, and then paralysed and effectively brain-dead. Zhongliang, Zhengda's brother-in-law, is a successful gigolo in Shanghai who seduces older married women and then blackmails them. When Older Master Pang dies, the clan elders make Ruyi take over the role as the head of the household. Zhongliang returns to the Pang family on the death of Old Master Pang, re-encounters Ruyi, and they are secretly attracted to each other. Wanting to seem sophisticated, she succumbs to Zhongliang's attempts to seduce her. But then an emotional maelstrom follows - for the angry, jealous and sexually frustrated sister (Zhengda's wife) is also part of the picture.Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
Two months into shooting, Kaige Chen had to let his leading lady go and replaced her with Li Gong. This was immediately followed by a delay in filming due to bad weather. Both of these factors contributed to the budget doubling to US $4 million. Six months of post-production took place in Beijing and Japan. Opening explanatory cards were cut and some scenes were rearranged.By the time of the Cannes Film Festival, the budget had increased to US $7 million. Even then, the film's problems were not over - the Chinese authorities then banned the film due to its political undercurrent and explicit scenes. See more »
The VHS fullscreen version produced by Miramax Home Entertainment and distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment is cut to approximately 115 minutes. See more »
An outstanding film of China in the early Republican period.
Few film makers capture this history of China from a Chinese production company, unless it is a propaganda piece. Excellent acting by the beautiful and fabulous Gong-Li and Leslie Cheung.
Gong Li as Ruyi, falls into the rare, but possible, role of head of the Pang Family, a somewhat traditional family in Shanghai, China; after her older brother falls into opium addiction and her father dies.
As a family head, she is almost in the status of a ruling house, and requires a marriage; confidential advisors; and love. By reason of her birth, she is also sheltered froom the world.
Still banned, at this writing, from circulation in China; this beautiful story photographed in a nearby Shanghai location; with actual ancestral hall and mansion with garden; transcends the dynasty (as it begins in 1911-12) through two decades of the new Republic. Cheung is a Capo or Dai-Lo of a Shanghai Triad after growing up in the Pang household. Gong-Li lives with the duty a death has given her, after "elders approval" and must cope with her childhood friend & cousin as a lover and trusted adviser; while being courted by the returned from Shanghai Cheung; with whom she falls in love.
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