- 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: PAL
- Language: Mandarin Chinese
- Subtitles: English
- Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: PG
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- DVD Release Date: 16 Jun. 2003
- Run Time: 95 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00007L3R5
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,328 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Happy Times Hotel (2002) [DVD]
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DVD Technical Information:
- Running time: 93 minutes
- Language: Mandarin
- Subtitles: English
- Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16 x 9)
- Sound Quality: Mandarin 5.1
From the Back Cover
Zhao (Benshan Zhao) is an ageing, unemployed bachelor who is desperate to get married, but has so far failed to meet the woman of his dreams. When he ends up on a date with an overweight divorcee (Qibin Leng) he proposes instantly, wanting a large lady "to keep him warm", and she agrees, thinking he is the rich owner of a large hotel. Needing 50,000 yuan to pay for the wedding, Zhao turns to his best friend Fu, who comes up with an idea to get hold of the money. The two men refurbish a derelict bus, name it the Happy Times Hut and rent it out by the hour to young couples who are in need of privacy! The plan goes awry, however, when the council take the bus away during a clean-up of the area.
Meanwhile, Zhaos intended introduces him to the son she dotes on and the blind stepdaughter she despises, Wu Ying (Jie Dong). Despite her pretences in front of Zhao, she mistreats Wu Ying, forcing her to do all the chores and making it clear she is considered an inconvenience. Zhao reluctantly agrees to give Wu Ying a job at his hotel after pressure from his fiancée who wants her out of the flat. Hoping that Wu Yings blindness will fool both her and her stepmother, Zhao sets up a fake massage parlour in an abandoned warehouse for her to work in. Enlisting the help of his retired friends to pose as customers, he often gives them his own money to use as tips. Despite the fact that their relationship is based on deceit, a genuine bond develops between Zhao and Wu Ying, who appreciates the efforts her new father-figure has gone to in order to find her a job. Wu Ying is desperate to save up enough money to find her real father, who has promised to return one day and help her find a cure for her loss of sight. However, Zhao is fast running out of money to pay her, and Wu Ying may not be as naïve as he believes about the reality of her situation.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
This is not an enigmatic ending with viewers left to project their own interpretation of where it goes from there - it just stops as if everyone had got bored with it and decided to call it a day. It is less than the sum of its parts, which is a pity because it could have been a good film. In the end though, it is just disappointing.
But this is a very good movie in its own, more subtle, nouanced and delicate way. It is a story of the search of happiness, and of how one can be led off the beaten track to find it.
It is also a movie to be watched by foreigners to learn about daily life in China. Modernization of the cities and rapid growth of wild private enterprise, for one. But more interestingly, one learns how a single man in his fifties is a social basket case and must overcome impossible odds to find a wife. Which is odd, considering that China, because of the one-child policy, has a surplus of women. And especially a surplus of single women in their late twenties, thirties and forties: the women who, unlike their mothers, got an education and started a career, and did not rush to get married in their early twenties or ever earlier.
One also learns about some physical features the Chinese especially value: a man may look for a fat woman "to keep him warm". And both men and women pay a lot of attention to whether a potential partner has a single eye lid or a double one, which is highly prized (see picture).
The ending is a bit of a mystery: both Zhao and Wu Ying are posivite and energetic, and they could have accepted reality and build a father/daughter relationship and move forward together, but they don't. No one seems to have found their "happy times", and they don't have much hope ever to do so.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very sweet film, a bit funny, interesting to look at. Definitely worth it.Published 12 months ago by It's me here!
Powerful and moving early drama from the Director to went on to make big production epics like Hero. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Gavin Fleming
this is a great story well told ,it is worth a watch ,unusual ,funny ,and intelligent film .a film with a heartPublished on 18 Dec. 2013 by Pinky