I think I was very lucky to watch this movie. It didnt have much of a media backing and one must be lucky to go by this movie and still to decide to watch it. I feel lucky that I trusted the opinion of a Chinese blog and decided to look for this movie.
The war with America also left lots of mine fields in Vietnam. A Tao, a young Vietnamese girl living by the Chinese border is shocked and become mentally challenged by witnessing her father becoming prey to land mine. Like many other Vietnamese girls, she too has to cross out to China and starts working in a massage parlour run by her dead father's sister, as a cleaner. A Shao, a road side karoake operator finds out that, though retarded A Tao sings beautifully and hence hires her. A Tao is attracted to A Shao. A local mafia goon had liked the innocence of A Tao and is after her too.
I would call this as one of the best love tragedies I have ever seen. The movie does not have any ingredients of a normal entertainer, in fact it progress more like an art house movie. And the first few minutes are quite slow. However, the mine blast comes in as a terrible shock and soon we meet the grown up A Tao, the mentally challenged young lady. Here after, the movie is so engaging and brilliant. The large, innocent and expressive eyes of A Tao will attract us and will make us feel for her. We will laugh, sing and cry with her. What a brilliant character.
As the love plot is formed and as the villain arrives, A Tao alone is required to move us on to the edge of our seat. The second half of the movie is really like a thriller and we wish for this strange couple from the bottom of our hearts. I really felt worried for them. And the end, which takes us to a strange feeling is tragic. I mean, there is some hope somewhere, but it is still very sad. I had a similar tragic feeling many years back, watching a Malayalam movie Bhootha Kannady. I would say, the ending of Hong He was similar. You know that it is a big tragedy, but there is a probable may be....
Absolutely, a brilliant performance by Jingchu Zang as A Tao. I have seen her in some other movies too. But this must be her best, for me at least. For me, this is one of the best performances from a female actor, ever. Everybody were good, but A Tao's eyes are haunting me.
It is such a pity that any movie, even with a slight hint at problems caused by America, is somehow pushed away from the main stream even in the internet world. Even other Chinese movies, which are not half as good as Hong He gets better reviews from West. I, hence, find it difficult to fathom the state of this movie.
A must watch movie, for sure. And anybody has any doubts on Chinese movies, please watch this.