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
A beautiful, other worldly movie, not for the faint-hearted
The poignancy of this movie outweighs any shortcomings in the directorial department. I found myself immersed in the milieu of 1930's ShangHai, a place and time I had only read of and subsequently wondered about.
The real strength of this movie is the accessibility with which powerful emotion is portrayed. I found I had real empathy for the characters.
The characters were played superbly by one of the most pedigreed casts I've seen in a while.
The pace was slow, but measured and well-suited to the plot.
Ralph Fiennes was a convincing lead -- the image of him reminds me of TS Eliot mixed with Rick Blaine (Casablanca).
Natasha Richardson is brilliant in this role. Understated and quite believable.
All in all a beautiful, other worldly movie, and not for the faint-hearted.
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