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Happy Times [DVD] [2002] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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3 used from £8.45

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Actors: Lifan Dong, Benshan Zhao, Jie Dong, Biao Fu, Xuejian Li
  • Directors: Yimou Zhang
  • Writers: Gai Zi, Yan Mo
  • Producers: Edward R. Pressman, Erin O'Rourke, Lizhong Qiao, Ping Zhou, Qinglong Yang
  • Format: Anamorphic, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Chinese
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Dec. 2002
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006RCL3
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,193 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Zhao is an aging bachelor who hasn't been lucky in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, Zhao leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his means. Zhao's best friend Li hatches the idea to raise the money by refurbishing an abandoned bus, which they will rent out by the hour--the Happy Times Hotel--to young couples starved for privacy. Unfortunately, this plan goes awry because Zhao is too old fashioned to allow the couples to leave the bus door closed. Meanwhile, Zhao's fiancee introduces him to her spoiled son and beautiful blind stepdaughter Wu Ying, whom she sees as a burden. To be rid of the girl, she insists that Zhao take her to the Happy Times Hotel and give her a job. Zhao reluctantly agrees, then creates a series of deceptions to keep the girl occupied, including setting her up as a masseuse and enlisting his friends to pretend to be her customers. Everything that is happening between Zhao and Wu is superficially about trickery, but gradually a very real empathy grows between the young woman and the old man.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Quentin Newark on 3 Sept. 2008
Format: DVD
This is a beautiful film, deeply touching. A bachelor goes in search of a wife. This being China, he wants his wife to bring him status, and lies about his own status... this shallowness is wonderfully exposed when he ends up caring for a blind girl, he lies that he can give her work as a masseuse in his hotel. He has to call on his friends, and they painstakingly construct a massage-parlour in their disused steel-mill, and then pretend to be her customers - which results in some scenes I will never forget. The parlour is meant to be an intimate space, but instead it is sat in a huge warehouse, with an audience. The humour is gentle, coming from the silly and increasingly tenuous situation, and the charming, bumbling, out-of-their-depth but well-meaning old people. The film is about contrasts; shallowness and depth of character, pretend and real feelings, selfishness and sacrifice. The film's message is as profound as it gets: if you don't take risks, you will never discover yourself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Baldwin VINE VOICE on 24 Mar. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful film - but it takes you in a lot of different directions, starting off seemingly as an outright comedy but quickly veering into social commentary, then touching melodrama and ultimately... well, that would spoil it for you.
The cover of the DVD says it's "an hilarious look at life and the pursuit of happiness" which is perhaps the worst description I can imagine. Yes it's funny - I laughed out loud on several occasions - but that tag line makes it sound like some bad romcom. It isn't. It's a touching story and if you've not got a tear in your eye at the end there's something wrong with you.

I think I'll be watching this every so often. Best purchase in a long time.

The film cost me about £3 - best £3 I've spent in a long time. And I'm now in love with the leading actress. The DVD transfer looks great. The soundtrack is clear (well, as clear as you can expect if your Mandarin is as bad as mine) and there's sparing but effective use of the surround track.
The disc is bare-bones. No special features at all (although as I rarely make use of those, it's no loss). The menu doesn't seem to work for me - I couldn't tell if I'd turned subtitles on or off so had to do it with my remote to make sure. There's an annoying announcement at the start about how the disc is for retail only and how you can phone a number to turn someone in if they had the affront to rent it to you... why do DVD companies do this? It ruins the whole mood and if I were a film director I'd have the people who make these things shot.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By nmollo VINE VOICE on 11 Jun. 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Xingfu Shiguang (2000) or "Happy Times Hotel" is a gem of a film. It has some laugh-out load moments yet is perfectly balanced with tragedy. It reminded me somewhat of Mike Leigh's "All Or Nothing".

The acting, as with all films directed by Zhang Yimou, is of the highest caliber. Not one performance can be faulted.

The editing and camera work again cannot be faulted. The art direction was perfect.

The more I see this director's work the more I feel he is the most talented film director alive today. He continues to produce motion pictures of such a high standard and with such consistency that comparisons are bound to be made.
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