Ding Hui is a member of Purple Butterfly, a powerful resistance group in Japanese occupied Shanghai. An unexpected encounter reunites her with Itami, an ex-lover... and officer with a ...
See full summary »
Lu Jie is having coffee with her desperate friend Sang Qi, who believes her husband is cheating on her. At the same time at a hotel across the road from the coffee shop, Lu Jie sees her ... See full summary »
Hired to spy on a philandering husband, Luo Haitao soon becomes entangled in a clandestine affair with the other man. Along with Luo's girlfriend, they succumb to the delirium of drunken nights, but how long can their tryst last?
In Paris, the Chinese university student Hua is dumped by her lover. Hua wanders on the streets and the French worker Mathieu accidentally hits her face with the pipes that he is carrying ... See full summary »
Yu Hong leaves her home village and starts university in Beijing, where she develops a consuming and compulsive relationship with another student. The student riots from 1989 then ensue and take a toll on their lives.
The river Suzhou that flows through Shanghai is a reservoir of filth, chaos and poverty, but also a meeting place for memories and secrets. Lou Ye, who spent his youth on the banks of the ... See full summary »
They come at night and everybody steps out. They light torches and remember those who have walked these streets before them. In the coming hours, the city will be on lockdown: an eclipse appears and meteors start to fall.
"A Cambodian Spring" is an intimate and unique portrait of three people caught up in the chaotic and often violent development that is shaping modern-day Cambodia. Shot over six years, the ... See full summary »
A chance meeting sets 25-year-old Portuguese Rastafarian Djon África on the track of his roots in Cape Verde. He hopes to finally find his father, an adventurer whom he doesn't know. But ... See full summary »
João Miller Guerra,
Bitori Nha Bibinha,
Ding Hui is a member of Purple Butterfly, a powerful resistance group in Japanese occupied Shanghai. An unexpected encounter reunites her with Itami, an ex-lover... and officer with a secret police unit tasked with dismantling Purple Butterfly.Written by
A Chinese Take On The Old-Fashioned War Time Spy Romance
"Purple Butterfly (Zi hudie)" is a Chinese take on "Charlotte Gray."
There are also references to "The Third Man" in how the characters' loyalties and knowledge of each other's motives switch, to "Shanghai Express" for the trains, locales and extensive close-ups of beautiful faces, and to "Casablanca" as if these characters had more dialogue they would probably say something about their personal lives not amounting to a hill of beans amidst war breaking out in the late 1930's.
Elaborate period production design and lush cinematography with very slow camera movement substitute for dialogue.
I know very little of Sino-Japanese relations at this period so I probably missed important portents as the film first follows what I thought were two sets of star-crossed lovers in Manchuria and then Shanghai, whose lives only gradually obviously intersect.
I consequently found some plot points confusing, particularly as I wasn't sure if the characters were spectacularly bad shots at point blank range or if we were seeing flashbacks to the point that I wondered if the projectionist had mixed up reels.
I also wasn't sure if I was supposed to have a positive reaction to Tôru Nakamura's character, as the movie is so virulently anti-Japanese, but I found him a very charismatic actor who had terrific chemistry with the very expressive Ziyi Zhang despite the formalized set pieces of their interactions and even though I wasn't really sure about her personal feelings within her Mata Hari activities.
It was completely gratuitous to close the movie with newsreel footage of Japanese atrocities in various Chinese cities during the war. Yes, we know this war was hell on civilians but hey I'm watching for the romances.
9 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this