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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Submitted by MBergeron on August 4, 2024 – 1:52 pmNo Comment

When it rains it pours. There hasn’t been any Chinese language films released within recent months and now there’s a couple of them showing on Houston screens this month. The independent Chinese film from 2024 Empire of Silver opens Friday at the Studio 30. Meanwhile Fox Searchlight has Snow Flower and the Secret Fan opening exclusively at the River Oaks Three this Friday.

SFATSF, based on the novel of the same name, unrolls between the past and the present. As directed by Wayne Wang the film finds a parallel between Chinese life in the 19th century and present day. The movie’s produced in part by Wendi Murdoch who herself was fairly anonymous until an incident several days ago when she jumped like a superhero at a man pushing a pie into her husband’s face.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan has the kind of clout to get Hugh Jackman in a small role where he sings (in Mandarin natch). The film takes itself very seriously, a point seen and heard with its stately photography and emotive score.

More to the point SFATSF concentrates on the friendship between women, then and now. In the period setting femmes use fans with text written surreptitiously along the folds to communicate. In the present day the vibe is more along the lines of forbidding your offspring to be friends with those of which you don’t approve. There’s also the issue of Chinese foot binding, which isn’t a pleasant subject but ties in perfectly with themes of oppression.

- Michael Bergeron

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