The Chinese cinema industry: China’s cultural revolution

When three members of the Redgrave acting dynasty – Vanessa, her sister Lynn, and her daughter Natasha Richardson – set about filming the final collaboration between James Ivory and the late Ismail Merchant, it looked like the culmination of a film career famed for its Anglo-Saxon pedigree.But, despite its British and American cast, The White Countess, just released in American cinemas and due to open in the UK in March, is a Merchant-Ivory production with an Oriental twist. Set among the nightclubs and teeming streets of a city engulfed in political conspiracy and consumed by its own flamboyant decadence, where Chinese nationalists and White Russian aristocrats mingle with Jewish refugees and Japanese spies, it is the first Western film to be made entirely in China.

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