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Chinese Box (1997)

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The story of Hong Kong, from New Year's Day to June 30th, 1997, when the British left their colony and turned it over to the People's Republic of China.

Director:

Wayne Wang

Writers:

Jean-Claude Carrière (screenplay), Jean-Claude Carrière (story) | 4 more credits »
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1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeremy Irons ... John
Li Gong ... Vivian
Maggie Cheung ... Jean
Michael Hui ... Chang
Rubén Blades ... Jim
Jared Harris ... William
Chaplin Chang Chaplin Chang ... Homeless Man
Noel Rands Noel Rands ... John's Friend at New Year's Party
Emma Lucia Emma Lucia ... Amanda Everheart
Ken Bennett Ken Bennett ... Rick
Russell Cawthorne Russell Cawthorne ... New Year's Party MC
Emotion Cheung ... William Wong
Harvey Stockwin Harvey Stockwin ... Weeks
Jonathan Midgley Jonathan Midgley ... Jonathan
Bruce Walker Bruce Walker ... Bruce
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Storyline

John is an English photojournalist who has spent over a decade in Hong Kong; his friend Jim often crashes in his cramped apartment. John's unrequited love is Vivian whom he aches for but has not the nerve to possess. Concurrent with England's transfer of Hong Kong back to the Chinese, John discovers that he has a rare form of leukemia and has only months to live. So John, Jim, and the disfigured proto-hippy Jean grab a digital video camera and prowl the streets, seeking to document the "real" Hong Kong one last time. Written by Fred Goodridge

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Japan | USA

Language:

English | Cantonese

Release Date:

17 April 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Az utolsó éjszaka Hong Kong-ban See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$97,916, 19 April 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,195,190, 19 July 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Goofs

When John and Jim stop during the motorcycle ride up the hill, the shadow of a cameraman is visible. See more »

Quotes

John: Money, money, money. That's all you hear.
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User Reviews

 
Mosaic mood piece
4 February 1999 | by SKG-2See all my reviews

I don't know if Wayne Wang is into photography or painting as a hobby, but just like his last two films, SMOKE and BLUE IN THE FACE, this movie reminded me of a mosaic or a photo album. I can see how some people had problems with it, since it's not a plot-driven film, but rather one of mood and atmosphere. I was moved by the images I saw, not just of the city and the changes it went through, but also of the actors. Irons is so often celebrated for the way that he uses his voice (justly, I might add) that you forget how well he's able to act with his face, and he does a terrific job here, communicating his sadness, his will to live even as disease ravages him, his agony over his unrequited love for Gong Li, and his curiosity and attraction to Maggie Cheung.

I haven't seen much of Cheung that I remember, but I've seen a few of Li's films. Both of them are excellent, Li especially in a role that's a lot more complicated than it might first appear. You really do feel that deep down, if circumstances allowed, she'd love Irons back. Cheung's role is mostly a symbolic one, but she handles it well. Not an easy film to watch, but moving.


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