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Happy Times (Sous-titres français)

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lifan Dong, Benshan Zhao, Jie Dong, Biao Fu, Xuejian Li
  • Directors: Yimou Zhang
  • Writers: Gai Zi, Yan Mo
  • Producers: Edward R. Pressman, Erin O'Rourke, Lizhong Qiao, Ping Zhou, Qinglong Yang
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Chinese
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Dec 3 2002
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00006RCL3
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #62,184 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

From the director of "Raise the Red Lantern" and "The Road Home," HAPPY TIMES is a charming, heartwarming comedy about the complex dynamics of relationships and the hysterical complexities inherent in making them work. In an attempt to impress a portly divorcée that has caught his eye, an unemployed factory worker poses as the wealthy manager of a non-existent hotel. Hoping that his fabricated success will lead to holy matrimony, he instead finds himself the guardian of the woman's blind stepdaughter. Now, as the lies get more complicated and the deception more difficult to sustain, the sweetyoung blind girl and the crazy middle-aged man find themselves forming an emotional friendship thatis as touching as it is unlikely.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Howie on July 16 2004
Format: DVD
I've long been a film buff - my favorite films tend to be artsy and rather pedantic. Because of this, my family generally doesn't like to sit with me and watch movies.
So, when I started "Happy Times" last night, I thought they'd gradually wander off and find something else to do.
But, they were enthralled! This movie is the perfect balancing act between comedy, drama, and the enduring love we feel for those who have touched us in a special way.
This is a great, great movie.
Too many Americans shun foreign films. This is one they shouldn't miss. When the movie ended, my oldest son turned to me and said, "Wow. I think Hollywood has forgotten how to make movies like this!"
American filmmakers seem to think they have to descend to the baser instincts in order to make "adult" movies.
Yet, "Happy Times" - and countless other foreign films - never seem to sink to this level. These films are always excellent.
I think the issue is that Hollywood has forgotten how to write a good story; they've forgotten that basic human values can be enduring, can be entertaining, if only they would jettison their cynical baggage.
"Happy Times" will make you laugh and cry, smile and reflect with pride on the better angels of our nature.
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Format: DVD
Despite the upbeat title, 'Happy Times' depicts anything but...abuse by a stepmother, abandonment by a natural father, massive structural unemployment, a future of limited hope for each of the protagonists.
Through all of this despair, the natural goodness of Benshan Zhao's character (also called "Zhao") shines through. His ruses get more complicated and difficult to sort out, but in the second-half of the film, his growing care and concern for "Little Wu" (skillfully portrayed by Dong Jie) is obvious.
I defy anyone to watch 'Happy Times' without tears streaming down your cheeks by the end. I definitely recommend a rental/purchase, but you may want to pair it with something a bit more upbeat or comedic. This is a heartbreaking movie.
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Format: DVD
I just happened to see this on CBC, and bought the DVD last week. It is worth seeing for the performance of Dong Jie alone -- what a wonderful performance. You will be touched by her expressions and gestures (grabbing the watch or shirt when stressed). The cast were so critical for this "simple" story as they convey a full package of history by portraying complete characters.

I did some research and found out the ending on this version was NOT the original. The original was less dramatic and much shorter - though it looks like the director perferred the one on the DVD.

This is a movie that dances around deception -- the floweres are cut to look like more expensive roses, the large woman treats the girl one way with company and another when just her son is there. It also shows how MOTIVE is key to behaviours and is the difference between angels and wolves.

There is also a theme of what "modern capitalistic" society sees as having no value, and throws away -- so the bus, factory, seniors, and handicapped.

There is far more to this story then is on the surface. I highly recommend it.


The original ending follows Zhao and "little" Wu walking to work. He finds the factory being demolished, but they continues into the "massage-room" where they sit while he reads her "father's" letter (the one Zhao wrote). As this happens, the camera moves away from them until they are in long shot -- with the room they made, surrounded by machinery taking the building apart with the inevitability that those machines will soon take the room apart too, and the film ends.

Both endings work.
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Format: DVD
As a longtime fan of director Zhang Yimou, I was surprised to see him change directions with 1998's Not One Less. After watching his four most recent films (Not One Less, The Road Home, Happy Times and Hero), I can say with assurance that Zhang Yimou is not changing directions but branching out. He can direct almost anything. I've always appreciated movies that had both comedy and drama and defied categorization. Too bad Blockbuster can easy categorize this film under "Foreign." Happy Times starts off lighthearted and easily amusing, but becomes more complicated as it progresses. I can compare this movie to a more well-known and more controversial one, Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful. Happy Times is not striking like Zhang Yimou's earlier films, but it is more heartfelt. It's less artsy so it can be enjoyed by almost anyone. Note: The Chinese and American versions of this film have different endings. I can't advise you on which one to see since they are practically equal in degree of happiness or sadness. I would say the difference between them is like the difference between the two separate endings of Dickens' Great Expectations.
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Format: DVD
Very common error among Western viewers about "Happy Times" is the idea that this film is a comedy, or "basically comedy." And another mistake is to see this one as too light-weight, remembering the past works of the director Zhang Yimou, previously known for his collaboration with Gong Li (in "Red Sorghum" "Ju Dou" "Raise the Red Lantern" and others) and more recently for "The Road Home" starring beautiful Zhang Ziyi. Yes, "Happy Times" is often very funny; and yes, it is short and simple. But you should not miss the messages at the subliminal level.
The film stars a newcomer Dong Jie, formerly a student at a dance school in Beijing, as Wu Ying. Wu Ying is a blind girl, adopted by the reluctant step-mother, and living at her house while being treated very badly. Wu is just another trouble to the family, and she knows it.
Then, a middle-aged guy named Zhao steps in, as a possible husband to Wu's step-mother. Zhao, unemployed, is so desperate to marry her (step-mother), so keeps on lying about his social background, claiming he can offer plenty of money at the marriage, and even promises to "employ" Wu as one of staff at his imaginary hotel. Thus meet the two unlikely persons: a blind girl and a preposterously lying forty-something man.
We are to follow the relations between them; Zhao has to keep Wu "employed" even though she is a sulky girl, and the "hotel" exists no longer. However, Zhao, not an unkind chap, comes to feel sympathy for her while the girl Wu begins to understand what is going on around her.
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