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2014 San Diego Asian Film Festival



Directed by Ann Hui

Masters / China, Hong Kong / 2014 / drama, experimental, historical / 178 mins / Mandarin with English subtitles / DCP

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UltraStar Mission Valley
Tue, Nov. 11, 2014 6:30 pm


Closing Night Film, 2014 Venice Film Festival
Official Selection, 2014 Toronto International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2014 Busan International Film Festival

1930s China has been remembered as something of a “golden era” for the fashions, a cosmopolitan Shanghai, the revolutionary fervor, and a flowering of modern literature and culture. But the latest film by Ann Hui (Song of the Exile, A Simple Life) tells a woman’s experience of the golden era trapped in a cage. It’s a contradiction that, as one character puts it, has been buried by history, and cannot go unacknowledged.

Biographies have already detailed the prolific output of author Xiao Hong and her many paths, ferried from city to city by the whims of feeble lovers, the movements of literary and political trends, the interruptions of war, and the needs of her fading health. What she was thinking through it all can only be gathered incompletely through letters, friends’ memories, and her own semi-autobiographical writing. Similar to Stanley Kwan’s Centre Stage, THE GOLDEN ERA dramatizes that incompleteness through parallel tracks, each self-contradictory: faux-documentary interviews, imagined re-enactments, and Xiao Hong’s own creative voice. As such, we can never get too close to the enigmatic writer, just glimpsing a severe lonely restlessness, played to perfection by Tang Wei (Lust Caution, Finding Mr. Right).

THE GOLDEN ERA is a delight for fans of Republican Chinese literature, but it’s ultimately not about a literary figure but an ordinary modern woman who just happens to have left a trail of brilliant writing. As in Hui’s Book and Sword adaptations, this is a revisionist take on a gilded tale, and an epic stage for a woman resisting expectations of family, work, and, through Hui’s dizzying mode of retroactive storytelling, history itself.  –Brian Hu

Co-presented by: CCBA

Director's Bio

Selected Filmography:
Boat People (1981)
Love in a Fallen City (1984)
Song of the Exile (1990)
Summer Snow (1995)
Ordinary Heroes (1999)
The Way We Are (2008)
A Simple Life (2011)


Cast: Tang Wei, Feng Shaofeng, Hao Lei, Yuan Quan

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Dates & Times


UltraStar Mission Valley
Tue, Nov. 11, 2014 6:30 pm