6.3/10
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43 user 41 critic

Chinese Box (1997)

Trailer
1:57 | Trailer
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
Chaplin Chang Chaplin Chang ... Homeless Man
Li Gong ... Vivian
Noel Rands Noel Rands ... John's Friend at New Year's Party
Emma Lucia Emma Lucia ... Amanda Everheart
Ken Bennett Ken Bennett ... Rick
Rubén Blades ... Jim (as Ruben Blades)
Michael Hui ... Chang
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
Angelica Lofgren Angelica Lofgren ... Baby-Lin
Julian Chang Julian Chang ... Dr. Chang (as Dr. Julian Chang)
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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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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.
See more »

User Reviews

 
love in an achanging world
28 April 2007 | by dromascaSee all my reviews

The world is changing around the characters in 'Chinese Box'. The screen time focuses on the six months between the New Year 1997 and the end of the British rule in Hong Kong. It's also the time that is left for John, the principal character of the film, a freelance journalist trying to store on film and in words the transition and dying of leukemia. It is the time when not only the world is changing in an unknown direction, but also when John may or may not find the fulfilling of his great love to Vivian, a beautiful Chinese bartender with a dubious past, herself in love with a third, Chinese man.

The story is a combination between culture clash movies intertwined with love stories a la 'Shogun' with love stories in the shade of a crumbling world as in 'Casablanca'. It is to the credit of the director that despite a little too simplistic and explicit romantic intrigue he succeeds to bring to screen and combine a little of the charm of both genres in the right dosage. One may wonder where did Wayne Wang's career go lately and why he rather picked to do trashy films as 'Maid in Manhattan'.

The strength of the film and what makes it survive well the decade since its realization resides however in the rendition of the city, of its infinite colors and smells, of the crowd and the noise, of its hopes, fears and dreams in the wake of the falling under Communist rule. Jeremy Irons is perfect as he will ever be, Li Gong is an enigmatic Chinese Hepburn, and Ruben Blades and Maggie Chang fill in two memorable supporting roles and another lateral story that fits well in the mosaic. 'Chinese Box' catches both a moment to remember in history and a beautiful love story to remember as well, on the background of a world in transition to an unknown destination.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

France | Japan | USA

Language:

English | Cantonese

Release Date:

17 April 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chinese Box See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$97,916, 19 April 1998

Gross USA:

$2,178,160

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,178,160
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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