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Film / Farewell China

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Farewell China is 1990 Hong Kong film from Clara Law and Eddie Ling-Ching Fong.

Li Hung (Maggie Cheung) is a desperate post-Revolution mother who has tried for years to obtain a visa to come to America, to study to earn a better life for her husband, Zhou Nansan (Tony Leung Ka-fai) and her son Sansan. After a short time however, she loses contact with her family back home. Nansan smuggles himself to New York to find her, as he gets knocked around by this unusual American society and meets a downtrodden cast of cynical characters.

Slowly, he loses himself amidst the dirt of New York, but slowly pieces together what happened to his wife.

This film contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Jane meets Nansan after Nansan nearly gets shot by her pimp; when wrestling for the gun the pimp accidentally shoots himself.
  • But Now I Must Go: Jane leaves Nansan just before the end of the story so she can go back to school.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Li Hung tries to get permanent residency this way. It works, but she leaves the man nearly immediately.
  • Downer Ending: Nansan dies at the end of the movies, broke and homeless in a New York park. His son grows up parentless and thinking he was abandoned, and Li Hung doesn't really remember who he is.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: One of the early signs of Li Hung's denigrating mental health was the way she nearly killed a fellow student for asking her out for coffee.
  • Fair-Weather Friend: The friend that Nansan stays with in the beginning of the movie is initially willing to help Nansan, and even willing to help him pay for his star in New York and help him find a job, but forces him out when he learns that Nansan is an illegal immigrant, which would put his own chances for citizenship at risk.
  • I Will Find You: Nansan's driving motivation is to find his wife.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: The nicest person Nansan meets is Jane, the 15-year-old hooker.
  • Hysterical Woman: Li Hung devolves into this when she thinks someone is dangerous or she is confused.
  • Rape Leads to Insanity: Li Hung was already a little unstable, but being raped sends her to pieces.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Jane started taking birth control pills at ten years old.
  • Split Personality: Li Hung develops this to cope with her trauma.