In 19th-century China, seven year old girls Snow Flower and Lily are matched as laotong - or "old sames" - bound together for eternity. Isolated by their families, they furtively communicate by taking turns writing in a secret language, nu shu, between the folds of a white silk fan. In a parallel story in present day Shanghai, the laotong's descendants, Nina and Sophia, struggle to maintain the intimacy of their own childhood friendship in the face of demanding careers, complicated love lives, and a relentlessly evolving Shanghai. Drawing on the lessons of the past, the two modern women must understand the story of their ancestral connection, hidden from them in the folds of the antique white silk fan, or risk losing one another forever.Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Lisa See was originally asked to write the screenplay but declined due to lack of experience on screenwriting. See more »
The last paragraphs of the unsent letter that Nina found in Sophias apartment, which can be seen when she closes the notebook, don't match Nina's voice-over. See more »
People say I'm sending Sebastian and Nina to New york so neither will take my job. Hey, perhaps that's partly true. You know, like these butterflies that surround us this evening, it's a time of transformation, new beginnings.
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The current scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch makes it all the more surprising that his wife produced Wayne Wang's "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan". But even so, it's still worth seeing. It tells the story of two friends in present-day Shanghai, and the connection that they have with two girls in 19th century China through a fan on which they wrote secret messages.
Wang famously focused on Chinese-American families in "The Joy Luck Club", and took a bittersweet look at people's lives in "Smoke". This movie doesn't equal either of those, but I still recommend it. The development of Shanghai certainly reflects the changes in the lives of the girls (and the changes that China has undergone over the past 100 years). Not great, but worth seeing.
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