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A Good Foreign Film...


Chris James

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It isn’t very often that I sit down and watch a foreign film. I should probably do it more often because there is great variety out there and some very talented filmmakers. We just don’t get to see these films in theaters and have to wait for the DVD to hit the market. (I know, I know, someone will say Netflix, but I don’t like eating all their spam with a subscription)

This latest viewing is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, a Chinese offering. This is a story about love and devotion between two sets of women, one modern and the other over a hundred years before. There are no sexual overtones, just a pure and complicated sharing of emotion.

We’ve seen this type of woman oriented film before. Think Beaches or any of the other sisterhood kind of films, but this one is special. As a romance-styled author I found much to offer in the plot, perhaps I should say both plots. The look at China in the 19th Century was fascinating and filled with wonderful scenic images. The modern China scenes exposed me to a lot about the current culture.

This isn’t a chick-flick in any sense of the word, but a broad and poignant look at the commitment two people can make for life. Not going to give anything away, no spoilers, but the director gives us wonderful scenery, costumes and good acting to mitigate having to read all those subtitles. You’ll be relieved to know that about half of the film is in English.

The director, Wayne Wang (no pun here) gave us Joy Luck Club some time ago and I appreciate his style very much. If you get the chance, give this a try. We could all only wish to write a romance this deep and moving.

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