9 user 16 critic

Singing Behind Screens (2003)

Cantando dietro i paraventi (original title)
A young man enters a brothel and sees a staged narration of a Chinese folk tale concerning a female pirate.


Ermanno Olmi


Ermanno Olmi (screenplay)
7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bud Spencer ... Il vecchio capitano
Jun Ichikawa ... Vedova Ching
Sally Ming Zeo Ni Sally Ming Zeo Ni ... Confidente
Camillo Grassi Camillo Grassi ... Nostromo
Makoto Kobayashi ... Ammiraglio Ching
Li Xiang Yang Li Xiang Yang ... Supremo ammiraglio Kwo Lang
Wen Li Guang Wen Li Guang ... Dignitario imperiale
Chen Ruohao Chen Ruohao ... Emissario imperiale
Davide Dragonetti Davide Dragonetti ... Cliente ignaro
Alberto Capone Alberto Capone ... Cliente militare
Carlene Ko Carlene Ko ... Mery Red
Sultan Temir Omarov Sultan Temir Omarov ... Ammiraglio Thin Kwei
Bellini Zheng Bellini Zheng ... Il piccolo Guiady
Gaowta Shara Azzolini Gaowta Shara Azzolini ... Piratessa
Xuwu Chen Xuwu Chen ... Figlio del Cielo


A young man enters a brothel and sees a staged narration of a Chinese folk tale concerning a female pirate.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | Music | War


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Did You Know?


Bud Spencer initially asked the producers if he could be credited under his real name (Carlo Pedersoli), due to the film's more serious tone compared to the titles he was most commonly associated with. He reconsidered after being told that his presence would boost the film's box office prospects. See more »


Features La bella corsara (1928) See more »


Tristia: Marche funèbre pour la dernière scène d'Hamlet
(opus 18)
Written by Hector Berlioz
Interpreted by The Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus
Directed by Pierre Boulez
Published by Deutsche Grammophon
See more »

User Reviews

Artistic Triumph by Ermanno Olmi.. Watch it to believe it
3 September 2020 | by Lynchian696See all my reviews

Arthouse adaptation of "The Widow Ching, Lady Pirate" by Jorge Luis Borges (24 Aug 1899-14 June 1986) that blends Peter Greenaway and Yimou Zhang. This Chinese folktale partially plays out in a brothel and captures the journey of Chinese piratess Ching who is regarded as the most feared corsair of the Chinese coast until a fateful battle with the new emperor. Bud Spencer plays the captain in the service of Ching, who is also the narrator. The film displays superb cinematography that, even years later, still stand as great wonders. The 18th century is reconstructed on the coasts of Montenegro and it is a work of ingenious craftsmanship that packs in a whole lot of visual splendour. It is also a fascinating blend of adventure, comedy, romance which is cleverly narrated cinema that paints an interesting portrait of the piratess. It brims with an energetic & creative vibe which keeps the story refreshing throughout its runtime. The set and the production design is top notch, Kudos for the stellar especially the designed ships. The use of colour palette is quite splendid and the expertly staged camera angles & movements make its story all the more captivating. Even the Costumes are pretty much in tune with the depicted timeline, and the work in make-up department is no slouch either. Coming to the performances, the movie features a Powerhouse of performances. The supporting cast manage to leave their mark, one way or another. Bud Spencer makes the narrator completely his own for it's his added inputs only which gives his character a unique look & edge over the others, and there isn't one scene where he isn't the show-stealer. Highly recommend to Arthouse fans, this will be a cinematic experience and a feast to the heart and mind.

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Official Sites:

Mikado [Italy]


Italy | UK | France


Italian | Mandarin | English

Release Date:

24 October 2003 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Cantando por Detrás das Cortinas See more »

Filming Locations:

Podgorica, Montenegro See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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