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Leah is travelling the world when she eventually settles in Beijing, China, where she meets Master Sun Zhan who teaches her the art of weiqi. Her path crosses with American Chinese Richard whose family had sent him to Beijing to arrange his grandfather's ashes. A romance soon blossoms between them.Written by
Life in Beijing from a balanced American-Chinese viewpoint
One of the most noticeable characters of this film is the city of Beijing. Most Americans have probably never considered the possibility that this could be a beautiful city. If the camera doesn't lie, we are sadly misguided by propaganda. With a depiction of a thriving American ex-patriate community, this film could have been set in Paris. But if it had been, we might have missed some of the best and most thought-provoking parts of this film - the long-term consequences of the horrors of war, the ties of family, the discovery of a non-Western viewpoint.
A few of the performances are weak, and a few of the scenes seem contrived. This is a great film nonetheless - and an important one. We often fail to see the Chinese - and probably the Chinese fail to see Americans - as people who live lives like our own. We're encouraged to think of the inhabitants of non-democratic nations as being forever engaged in political thought and lacking the right or opportunity to do otherwise. This attitude dehumanizes much of the world's population and causes us to forget that we all are likely to fall in love, hurt each other and get hurt in return, have special moments, experience pain. This film reminds us of the many experiences we have in common.
First joint US-China film. Seen at the Women in Cinema Film Festival in Seattle, WA with director and producers present and available for questioning.
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