Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.
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Shanghai. 1936. Crossroads of the world and into this city of political intrigue comes Sofia, a Russian Countess who, with the remains of her family, has been left stateless by the Revolution. Forced by her reduced circumstances to support herself and her family as a bar-girl and taxi dancer, Sofia forms a relationship with Jackson, a blind former diplomat who opens an elegant bar; The White Countess. Their curious relationship matures but they are caught up in the fall of the city to the Japanese invaders.Written by
I was caught up in this film from the very beginning. For me, Richardson's performance is Oscar-worthy and Fiennes does a credible job as a recently blind diplomat doing his best to hide from the realities of the world by creating a world of his own. This film could be considered "Casablanca" turned on its head, where people of all different races and religions and beliefs come together at a nexus of great social turmoil, and the story of two small people doesn't amount a hill of beans to anyone but us, the audience. The White Countess is one of my favorite films of 2005. And I have to admit I'm not much of a Merchant-Ivory fan, but this one was truly exceptional.
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