7.5/10
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Hai shang hua (1998)

Unrated | | Drama | 17 October 1998 (Japan)
Trailer
1:35 | Trailer

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In the "flower houses" (upscale brothels) of Shanghai, various interweaving stories of love, loyalty, and deceit play out subtly.

Director:

Hsiao-Hsien Hou

Writers:

Eileen Chang (translation), T'ien-wen Chu | 1 more credit »
Reviews
5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung ... Wang (as Tony Chiu Wai Leung)
Michiko Hada Michiko Hada ... Crimson
Michelle Reis ... Emerald
Carina Lau ... Pearl
Jack Kao ... Luo
Rebecca Pan ... Huang
Vicky Wei ... Jasmin
Hsuan Fang Hsuan Fang ... Jade
Annie Shizuka Inoh ... Golden Flower
Ming Hsu ... Tao
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Josephine A. Blankstein ... (as An-an Hsu)
Pauline Chan ... (voice)
Shui Chit Cheung Shui Chit Cheung
Hui-ni Hsu Hui-ni Hsu ... Shu-Fang's sister
Firebird Liu
Edit

Storyline

In Shanghai in the 1880s there are four elegant brothels (flower houses): each has an auntie (called madam), a courtesan in her prime, older servants, and maturing girls in training. The men gather around tables of food, playing drinking games. An opium pipe is at hand. The women live within dark-paneled walls. The atmosphere is stifling, as if Chekhov was in China. The melancholy Wang is Crimson's patron; will he leave her for the younger Jasmin? Emerald schemes to buy her freedom, aided by patron Luo. Pearl, an aging flower, schools the willful Jade, who thinks she has a marriage agreement with young master Zhu. Is she dreaming? Women fade, or connive, or despair. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Taiwan | Japan

Language:

Cantonese | Shanghainese

Release Date:

17 October 1998 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Flowers of Shanghai See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The film consists of 38 long shots. See more »

Connections

Featured in I Wish I Knew (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Absolutely Brilliant.
29 July 2004 | by yifan_tunanSee all my reviews

This movie was absolutely brilliant.

It was filmed in a manner that makes it seem more realistic than most movies. Each frame is beautiful.

A note on dialect - This movie (with the exception of Leung to his mistress) is in Wu Chinese. Wu is hardly a minor language, spoken by well over 70 million people worldwide. It is spoken not only in Shanghai (the largest city in China) but the surrounding provinces, including such large cities as Suzhou and Wenzhou. It is actually more widely spoken than Cantonese and Taiwanese combined, making it the second-most-spoken variety of Chinese, dwarfed only by Mandarin. (70 million speakers is a lot of people; many national languages in Europe have fewer speakers) However, Wu is not spoken by as many overseas Chinese as are Cantonese, Mandarin, and Hokkien (aka Taiwanese, Minnan, etc), and for that reason less Westerners speak it. (in addition, Cantonese, Hokkien, and Mandarin are all the primary languages of at least one self-ruling political unit, even though the former two have less speakers than Wu)

This is the only well-known movie with dialogue primarily in Wu, and it is based on the 19th century Wu novel by the same name (except read as Wu).


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