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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Blu-ray / drama DVD / adaptation DVD / international and arthouse DVD review
SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 2 1/2 stars
Featuring: Gianna Jun, Bingbing Li, Russell Wong, Archie Kao
Director: Wayne Wang Distributor: 20th Century Fox
DVD release: 01 November 2011 Runtime: 120 min.
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 2.39:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - Mandarin, English), Subtitles (English, French, Spanish), The Sworn Sisterhood of the Secret Fan

*Snow Flower and the Secret Fan*SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN attempts to draw us into a couple of stories, somewhat parallel in nature (but not very), separated by decades.

*Snow Flower and the Secret Fan*In China in the early 1800s, Snow Flower and Lily are paired by their parents as laotong (sisters bonded for life). Their astrology matches up well enough to make them compatible, despite their different backgrounds. The pairing is supposed to help ease the sting of the lives that stretch out before them, offering them little choice or joy.

*Snow Flower and the Secret Fan*The girls learn a secret language by which they can communicate back and forth: their writings conveyed on fans. This was the life of a woman with artificially tiny feet in 19th-century China. Tiny feet were so sought after at the time that young girls' toes were folded over, their feet wrapped tightly in a painful and crippling fashion to ensure they'd be married to the right guy later in life.

In modern times, Nina and Sophia are more voluntarily matched up despite their different backgrounds. They decide , upon hearing of their forebears' laotong, to make a similar pact. Both pairs of girls are beset by difficulties that force them to abandon their laotong agreements.

I was hoping for a better story, but the tale is developed with a familiar structure. It recalls Fried Green Tomatoes with its narrative flashes back and forth through time so we can see the stories' parallels. (As I understand it, the successful novel did not include the modern story. Perhaps the film would have been better this way.)

SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN isn't terrible, but it does smack of blatant chick flick and doesn't do a lot to attract lovers of old China.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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