6.6/10
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The White Countess (2005)

PG-13 | | Drama, History, Romance | 31 March 2006 (UK)
Trailer
1:55 | Trailer
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.

Director:

James Ivory

Writer:

Kazuo Ishiguro (original screenplay)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Natasha Richardson ... Countess Sofia Belinskya
Lynn Redgrave ... Olga Belinskya
Madeleine Potter ... Grushenka
Madeleine Daly ... Katya
John Wood ... Prince Peter Belinsky
Vanessa Redgrave ... Princess Vera Belinskya
Allan Corduner ... Samuel Feinstein
Timur Engalychev Timur Engalychev ... Feinstein Child
Lucy Sutton Lucy Sutton ... Feinstein Child
Amir Maimon Amir Maimon ... Feinstein Child
Itay Eltahan Itay Eltahan ... Feinstein Child
Dan Herzberg ... Frenchman
Aislín McGuckin ... Maria (as Aislin Mcguckin)
Dong Fu Lin Dong Fu Lin ... Taxi Dance Hall Manager (as Lin Dong Fu)
Ralph Fiennes ... Todd Jackson
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Storyline

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 johnno.r@xtra.co.nz

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance | War

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film directed by James Ivory that was produced by his longtime business and romantic partner Ismail Merchant, who died shortly before the film's premiere. See more »

Goofs

When Katya is having her hair combed, a fly lands on her forehead - and then jumps onto the camera lens. See more »

Quotes

Sofia: We all have to fall in love from time to time... To feed our daughters, and our mothers. And sisters.
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Soundtracks

The Cocktail Wine (Ji wei jui man/Dei yi)
Written by Di-Yi Chen & Min Yao (as Ming Yao)
Arranged and Produced by John Huie
Performed by The White Countess Band
EMI Music Publishing Hong Kong
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User Reviews

 
A Broader Canvas with Big, Heavy Doors
22 January 2006 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. One can always count on a Merchant/Ivory film to appear soft and flowing on the outside and explosive on the inside with a pinch of unrequited love on the side. The misleading smile on Ralph Fiennes face and the gentleness of Natasha Richardson mask the inner turmoil only to themselves.

Fiennes plays Todd Jackson, an infamous former U.S. diplomat who worked wonders with the Chinese government. Sadly his life took an awful turn when he was blinded and his daughter killed during a tram bombing. His life a mess, Jackson "sees" his idea for an entertainment establishment in his head. Once he has secured the funding, he selects his "centerpiece" ... former Russian Countess Sophie (Richardson). Their business relationship is highly successful but does nothing to help Richardson's torturous family situation. Watching their worlds collide, with an assist from warring nations is a slow and painful ride.

Richardson is simply terrific and elegant as Sophie. Her scenes with Fiennes and her scenes with her family are magnificent and powerful. The only thing preventing the film from being truly top notch is the over-reliance on subtlety in the Fiennes/Richardson relationship.

Outstanding support work is provided by Hiroyoki Sanada as the mysterious Mr. Matsuda, but the real treat for film lovers is the opportunity to see Lynn and Vanessa Redgrave together on screen. As is customary for Merchant/Ivory, the direction is a bit heavy-handed and dialog extremely limiting, but the strong performances allow the film to be very solid and watchable.


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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | China | USA

Language:

English | French | Mandarin | Russian

Release Date:

31 March 2006 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The White Countess See more »

Filming Locations:

Shanghai, China

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Box Office

Budget:

$16,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$46,348, 25 December 2005

Gross USA:

$1,669,971

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,092,682
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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