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Chinese Box [Import]

3.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeremy Irons, Li Gong, Maggie Cheung, Michael Hui, Rubén Blades
  • Directors: Wayne Wang
  • Writers: Wayne Wang, Jean-Claude Carrière, Larry Gross, Paul Theroux, Rachel Ingalls
  • Producers: Akinori Inaba, Andrew Loo
  • Format: NTSC, Import
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Vidmark / Trimark
  • VHS Release Date: March 23 1999
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • ASIN: 1573624160
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Product Description

Set during the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong in 1997, this fascinating film uses that urgent and grandly ceremonial political backdrop for an intimate study of personal transition. Jeremy Irons plays a seasoned journalist who discovers he is terminally ill, causing him to be torn between his obsessive love for a former prostitute (Chinese film star Li Gong) and a streetwise hustler (Maggie Cheung) whom he has chosen as the subject of a video documentary. Through his involvement in the lives of these two very different women, director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) creates a cinematic "love-hate letter" to his native Hong Kong, where each character is allegorical and suffers an identity crisis much like Hong Kong itself. The film's love story is somewhat aimless and ultimately unimportant, but Chinese Box (even the title suggests a place that holds secrets within its borders) remains a fascinating film in the semi-documentary tradition, capturing the psychology of its time and place with compelling immediacy. Musician/actor/politician Ruben Blades is featured in a memorable supporting role. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
As with all true masterpieces, you either love or hate this film. I have read all of the reviews for this film on and IMDB (Internet Movie Database) and one thing stands out: All of the reviewers either pointed out what a piece of trash this movie was, or were totally and completely entralled with it's cinematographic spendor. I must confess that I fall into the latter category. I have watched literally thousands of movies in my life (average of 10 per week) and I have to admit that most of them have been forgotten. It is for movies like Chinese Box that I wade through the endless sea of mediocre and just plain pointless films, on the off chance that I will find a jewel in the rough. I feel that Chinese Box is one of the true jems, I would place it in my top 3 list. For those who have experienced the truly memorable experiences (both good and bad) that life can throw at those who REALLY think and care, this movie is for you ! It will dredge all of the past meloncholic feelings out of your subconscious mind and shatter your everyday demeanor. I found myself in tears at the beautiful conclusion of this film, something that only 1 other movie (Bladerunner) has ever been able to accomplish. I have never in my life viewed a motion picture that so perfectly captures the essence of the human condition. All in all, I would say that this is one of the few films I will ever watch again and again, and ever time that I view it will bring exquisite new meaning to this most meaningful piece of art. No, correct that, this MASTERPIECE of cinematography.
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Format: VHS Tape
I like this film for it's brilliant depiction of the city of Hong Kong. Visually, it's a treat for the eyes. A great depiction of the city by a director who grew up there before making it in the First World (the dream of all talented Hong Kong Chinese is to get out of Hong Kong). Here is both the busy British Colony and the tragic Chinese refugee centre in clear, sharp focus. Not the tourist bureau image, but the Hong Kong seen by a Chinese with the confidence to show it all. Here are the miles of shabby forty-story concrete tower blocks, the rude public behaviour, the jeering "older" refugees making fun of the newer arrivals from China, here's the polluted water, the giant rats in the poor quarters, here are all those drink-sodden western "remittance men" businessmen, and there's the crass world of Chinese property developers (the not- exactly-stylish-basis of Hong Kong's wealth). Here's the Chinese refugee girl who speaks terrible English (brilliantly played by Gong Li) here are her rude fellow refugees jeering at her for her wrong-side-of-the-tracks accent. The abysmal public behaviour that Hong Kong is so (in)famous for is well-captured by Wang - parts of the film look like a movie version of Bo Yang's book *The Ugly Chinaman and the Crisis in Chinese Culture,* which so many expats read to help understand the things that cause them culture shock in Hong Kong - here, visually, is a depiction of that utter insecurity that is so strong in a place overwhelmed by millions of Chinese refugees in the last several decades.
Brilliant how Wang captures the rude bluntness of life in a city whose effervesence is the frantic rush of desperate folk trying to survive, having escaped from China.
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Format: VHS Tape
Chinese box is a very interesting film. First of all a Wayne Wang film (remember eat a bowl of rice ? a film portrayed the Chinese immigrants life in US and excellent movie smoke as a result of his cooperation with Auster) that is set in Hong Kong and includes excellent performances by Irons, Li, and Cheung . Secondly it is based on the time period which was extremely important as well as worrying for many Asian people. It marked the end of British rule and unification with China. Film focuses on those days with an impossible love story between Irons and Li.
Film has full of images and tales about the people of Hong Kong and their way of living, power politics and market scale as well as the difference of eastern and western people in their way of thought and living. Irons' impossible love for Li and her struggle between two man, are represented throughout the film in a different way and thus forcing to make the viewer try to understand or at least make him/her to be as objective as it is possible on making judgements on Asian life. Western people has problems with understanding Asian mind and way of living and unfortunately only very few people really tries to do. As portrayed in Irons character, he tries to understand the people and the city over a decade but fails because in his words everything is changing so fast.(Maybe like many westerners suggest, it is rather a difficult task and since you have the best (!) of it why sweat it ?)
Wang draws the picture of city in one hand a fast moving, modern Asian city full of local and foreign businesscholics.Caught in the middle , on one hand trying to stay as traditional it can be but on the other hand trying to look , live and feel as a western democracy.
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