5.9/10
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26 user 18 critic

Pavilion of Women (2001)

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1:46 | Trailer

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With World War 2 looming, a prominent family in China must confront the contrasting ideas of traditionalism, communism and Western thinking, while dealing with the most important ideal of all: love and its meaning in society.

Director:

Ho Yim

Writers:

Pearl S. Buck (novel), Luo Yan (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Willem Dafoe ... Father Andre
Luo Yan ... Madame Wu Ailian
Sau Sek ... Mr. Wu
John Cho ... Fengmo Wu
Yi Ding ... Chiuming
Chieng Mun Koh ... Ying
Anita Loo Anita Loo ... Old Lady Wu
Amy Hill ... Madame Kang
Kate McGregor-Stewart ... Sister Shirley
Jia Dong Liu Jia Dong Liu ... Mr. Lang
Shu Chen Shu Chen ... Head Servant
Hang-Sang Poon Hang-Sang Poon ... Fat Cook
Li Wang Li Wang ... Kang Lin Yi
You Jin Xu You Jin Xu ... Matchmaker
Ding Yuan Gu Ding Yuan Gu ... Mayor
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Storyline

In 1938, Ailian is the forty years old wife of a wealthy man, Mr. Wu, who belongs to the traditional Wu Family in China. In order to get rid off her sexual obligations with her husband, Ailian gives Chiuming, a very young concubine to him. Andre is an American priest and doctor who takes care of an orphanage and becomes the tutor of her eighteen years old son Fengmo Wu. Father Andre starts giving classes to Fengmo, Ailian and Chiuming. Then, two forbidden loves will rise: between the priest and the first wife, and between the son and the concubine, having the invasion of China by the Japanese in a big picture. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality and war images | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

China | USA

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

16 November 2001 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

Amor, Honra e Guerra See more »

Filming Locations:

Suzhou, China

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,368, 6 May 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$35,938, 20 May 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Quotes

Fengmo Wu: My grandmother is the sun. My father is the earth. My mother is the moon. And I can not escape their gravity.
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User Reviews

 
Culturally revealing but shy of high marks
8 February 2002 | by davidscruggsSee all my reviews

The story and set behind Pavilion of Women were grist for a powerful movie. It's about an American priest (Willem Dafoe) running an orphanage in Asia who becomes entangled with a proud Chinese family's tugs of war over love and duty. While Pavilion is engaging enough to keep you awake, it didn't project any of the majesty of greater love-versus-duty romances that come to mind. Its characters cried, but not amid enough conveyed tragedy for its viewers to join in sympathy. Dafoe seemed to absorb his role, but not wholely, for soft-spoken and even-keeled as Dafoe can be, the priest in this movie would have been better portrayed by someone as unknown in the U.S. as the movie's Chinese cast members, whose anonymity aided their credibility and certainly carried the show. There are several wonderfully intense scenes that might even take you back to a love-struck moment in your past. The cinematography gave me pans of the city and garden life now and then, but it left me wishing it had lingered on Asia's beauty and austerity long enough to arouse a connection in me with these people living in 1930s China.

I wouldn't say give it a swerve, because the performances of the local cast was often great. But neither would I recommend making it a late-night movie, if you want to see it before nodding off.


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