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Purple Butterfly 紫蝴蝶


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I saw this film last night at the HK International Film Festival. I don't think it is a good film. The director has too much ambition but too little talent, IMHO. The mood and tone are not bad, though.

I chose this film because Japanese actor 仲村亨 is in it. He has beautiful eyes, and he acts well. There is also the unavoidable 章子怡.

Anyone has any thoughts on this film?

PS - here is a relevant report -> http://past.people.com.cn/BIG5/wenyu/64/127/20030523/998862.html , and this is exactly what I feel ->

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Was that the mother/daughter generation gap one? I think I read something about it having a good cast and a good story potential, but coming up short. It's on the shelves here, but I think only in a version without English subtitles.

There's another one I saw recently just called "Butterfly" about lesbian relationships in Hong Kong which also had some political undertones and worked quite well.

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No, "Purple Butterfly" is about a pair of Chinese/Japanese lovers and the sino-japanese relationship/war in the 1930s. It is not the same as the Hong Kong film "Butterfly". Here is the synopsis -

If Suzhou River reveals Lou Ye's fascination with Wong Kar-Wai-inspired noirish fractal romances, Purple Butterfly continues the obsession, but expands it tenfold to the arena of the Sino-Japanese war. Expectedly, the result is a ravishing, genre-twisting Shakespearean melodrama that astounds as much as baffles. Cynthia (the newly rechristened Ziyi Zhang) is in love with a Japanese, until circumstances at home transforms her into a resistance fighter for a group codenamed Purple Butterfly. Meanwhile, her beau is recruited by the Japanese secret service, thus pitting the couple's love against each other until the brutal, emotional finale.
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The director has too much ambition but too little talent, IMHO




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You might be thinking of Jasmine Women?

That one looks interesting (though haven't we had enough of Zhang Ziyi yet?) but it's not the one I'm thinking of. As I recall from the article, the movie I have in mind is set it contemporary China in one of the western cities, and features only two generations of women (mother and daughter).

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FACE (?)


Bai Ling plays a woman struggling to reconnect with her reluctant daughter after years of estrangement. Bertha Bay-Sa Pan's decades-spanning New York story is efficiently told but emotionally inert. 1:27 (thematic issues, brief nudity, drug use). Quad Cinema, Manhattan.

A spectacular inability to communicate is the legacy passed on among three generations of Asian-American women in "Face," a promising feature debut by Bertha Bay-Sa Pan that emulates its characters a little too much for its own good.

At the nucleus of Pan's stifled family trio is Kim (Bai Ling), a demure Queens teenager whose hopes of freeing herself from the constraints of a traditional upbringing are scotched when she is date-raped and impregnated by a wealthy young ne'er-do-well. Forced into a suffocating marriage, Kim flees to make her fortune in China, leaving behind her baby daughter Genie to be raised by her mother, Mrs. Liu (Kieu Chinh).

Flash forward 19 years, when Kim returns to consider job relocation and reconnect with her resentful daughter (Kristy Wu), who has inherited her mother's conflicted spirit of independence and deference toward Kim's mother. Unconsciously following in her mom's footsteps, Genie offends her grandmother's old-world sensibilities by dating Michael, a black DJ with the soul of a gentleman.

Played with warmth and vigor by hip-hop artist Treach, Michael is the film's most engaging presence. Writer-director Pan seems so emotionally invested in her mother-daughter tensions that she doesn't allow her women an opportunity to breathe. The film becomes mired in Kim's guilt-ridden ineffectuality and Genie's intransigence toward her mom, resulting in a kind of dramatic lockdown. "Face" crackles with possibilities, and then just sits there.

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Thanks, that was the one I was thinking of. I must have read an account of it in the same session that I came across Purple Butterfly. It might be worth checking out just so see more of Bai Ling, who I thought was sensational in "Jiaozi."

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