The Christ of Nanjing (1995)




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Tony Au directed this Hong Kong-Japanese co-production lovingly adapted for the screen by Joyce Chan. Tony Leung stars as Ryuichi Okagawa, a Japanese writer who worked as a reporter in China and has been sick ever since his return home. While in China, Okagawa had met a devoutly religious girl named Jin-hua (Yasuko Tomita, who won Best Actress at the Tokyo International Film Festival for her performance). Okagawa was born with a predisposition to agonizing recurrent migraines, but found happiness with Jin-hua and married her. Unfortunately, he already had a wife in Japan, and this revelation crushed Jin-hua. When Okagawa returned home, leaving Jin-hua behind, she was forced to work as a prostitute, catching both a severe case of the flu and a rather less socially acceptable condition. Seriously ill and delirious, Jin-hua imagines one of her johns to actually be Jesus Christ, and believes she will be cured by sleeping with him. Meanwhile, Okagawa's guilt has torn him apart enough for him to return to China in an attempt to bring Jin-hua home with him to get medical attention, but the girl is already too far gone for his help. Straining credulity and at times a bit overdone, the film is nonetheless quite powerful due to Tomita's brilliant performance and Au's surehanded direction. Tou Chung-wah, Lau Shun, and Chau Ching co-star.


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