• Golden Globe Awards

Concubine Of Shanghai (China)

Xiao Yuegui (Yu Nan) is the eponymous character, the aging companion of crime lord Yu Qiyang (Rhydian Vaughan). A flashback explains that she used to be the concubine of two mobster bosses who were a generation older. Never having been able to care for her daughter Lili (Amber Kuo), she now seeks a deeper relationship, when the young woman returns to Shanghai.
But Lili is defiantly against the mother who, she feels, abandoned her as a child, She rebels in as many ways as she can think of. A wide-eyed dreamer, she wants to be a star and with her mother’s inherited money (allegedly from one of her older lovers) and the financial aid that Yu, her current companion, provides, she buys a movie studio to guarantee that her not-so-talented child can become an actress. Lili immediately has a crush on her young and good-looking director and declares that she wants to marry him, which sits neither well with her mother nor with Yu, the mobster who is a control freak and fancies the young girl himself.
At this point, audiences should know that the film is the second part of a story based on a 2003 novel by Hong Ying. Part one was titled Lord of Shanghai, and it is interesting that both films were shot concurrently in 2017. Concubine of Shanghai was only released three years later due to the first film flopping badly.
The plot takes place in 1925 when the Triads controlled most of Shanghai and mostly its banks. Director Sherwood Hu flashes back to the past – and the triangle love story between Xiao and the two older crime bosses – in black and white and shows the present time in rich colors. We also learn about her backstory and how she became everybody’s favorite woman despite not quite fitting the Asian beauty standard of that era.