In ‘Snow Flower and the Secret Fan’ director Wayne Wang has tried to keep to the spirit of the story in Lisa See’s best-selling novel of the same name, which spans several generations.
Wang shifts the bulk of the action to modern day Shanghai, with two contemporary women replacing See’s original characters.
“It’s probably more re-imagining, because the book is like some 400 pages. It has so many details and events that are important. So the trick is really to condense it enough but still be very true to the essence of the book,” he said.
“The story is about two sets of women who are close friends. One story is in the past and one story is in the modern day.”
The 19th century storyline follows the friendship found and lost between two women enduring the cruel indifference, even abuse, suffered by women at that time.
The modern plot tells the tale of successful businesswoman Nina, and her childhood best friend
Sophia who has been left in a coma after a traffic accident. Like their ancestors 200 years earlier, the two girls, in childhood, swore to be there for each other as ‘laotongs’, which, loosely, is a Chinese term for lifelong devotion.
The two characters in both time periods are played by the same actresses, Li Bingbing and Gianna Jun.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan opens in selected US and European cinemas throughout July and August.