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Similarly Requested CDs
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great movie. Gives a new perspective on life as a Christian outside of the US. Very inspiring, I'd have to say it's somewhat life changing. Highly recommend for every Christian"
WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 10/09/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is the incredible story of Nora Lam, a woman whose unwavering faith in God has seen her through more upheavals in her life than most people ever experience. This film is an adaptation of her book and is a condensation of Ms. Lam's extraordinary life. James F. Collier, who wrote the film adaptation, also directed the film.
In the film, her story begins in 1941, when she was a young child named Sung Neng Yee and lived in Shanghai with her wealthy parents, Dr. and Mrs. Sung (James Shigeta and Frances Nuyen), amidst unparalleled luxury and privilege. She was a spoiled and pampered child, a veritable princess. In December of 1941, Neng Yee's life would forever change, as her family was forced to flee their home, when the Japanese invaders overran all of Shanghai. For the Sung family, a life of privilege would forever be a thing of the past.
Nine years later, in 1950, Neng Yee (Julia Nickson-Soul), a beautiful young woman living in reduced circumstances with her family, was a student at Soochow University. She was living on the cusp of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution and was now pro-communist in her beliefs. Neng Yee studied hard at the university, and there she met and fell in love with Lam Cheng Shen (Russell Wong), a handsome young scholar with a proclivity for dressing in western clothing. Some time after graduation, Neng Yee and Cheng Shen married.
Then, everyone's re-education began. Under the auspices of the Cultural Revolution, her father, a well respected medical doctor, was forced to scrub floors in the same hospital in which he had been a prominent physician. Thus, was to begin the road of disillusionment for Neng Yee. Once persecuted by the Japanese, the Sungs now found themselves to be part of the collateral damage of the Cultural Revolution.
Shortly after, a pregnant Neng Yee and her husband found themselves subjected to interrogations by Communist officials, as they were deemed to be suspicious because of their family connections and because of that fact that Neng Yee had, at one time, held Christian beliefs. So, her nightmare began. Under interrogation, as part of her of her re-education, she re-counted to her interrogators her life at a Christian boarding school years ago. During the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, it was thought that confession and criticism were the first steps to social reform in China.
Neng Yee acknowledged that for a time she had turned to Christianity, only to have forgotten about it by the time she was sixteen, when she, instead, had turned to Chairman Mao for guidance. As Neng Yee's independent spirit began to chafe under the repressive and oppressive party line, under interrogation, Neng Yee found God again. She eventually found herself in conflict with the state and sentenced to death. Her moment of truth arrived when the pregnant Neng Yee was brought before the firing squad. What happened next is sure to make one believe in miracles. It is at that miraculous moment that life really began for Neng Yee. God promised Neng Yee that she and her family would be free and leave China. The film ends with that promise being fulfilled.
In actuality, it is not the end of her story but only the beginning. Neng Yee and her family emigrated to the United States, and Neng Yee became Nora Lam. She went on to live a life that is nearly incredible in terms of its experiential breadth. It was to be a secular life ultimately lived in the service of God in all parts of the world. It is amazing what this young woman would go on to achieve and accomplish in her life. Hers is, indeed, an inspirational story that will make one believe in a higher power, if one does not already do so. It is surely a story worth telling. Nora Lam has gone on to establish the Nora Lam Ministries, which is based in California, and she has led evangelical crusades in China and the United States. One should read the book upon which the film is based before viewing the film. As is so often the case, the book is better.
The problem with the film is that it has to cram too much into too short a time period. Consequently, it leaves parts out that would make the story a little more comprehensible. Moreover, while the venerable James Shigeta and Frances Nuyen give excellent performances, as does Russell Wong, Julia Nickson-Soul, as pretty as she is, has too contemporary an edge and lacks the acting chops to be truly effective or convincing in the role. Consequently, this film pales when compared to James F. Collier's other inspirational film, "The Hiding Place"."
Interesting Cultural, Love Story, Drama that is also Exotic,
Bryan E. Leed | Dayton, OH USA | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the true story of a "modern" girl in China, growing up and falling in love during the Japanese occupation of WWII, and then things get even worse when the Mao Communists take over!
I first heard of this movie through Christian channels, because the film also shows how the heroine becomes a Christian, sort of "accidentally," when the Communists persecute her as an adult because she is a suspected traitor to the Communist Party, simply because she once attended a Christian grade school, when she was a child--and religion is the enemy of Communism (from the point of view of Chairman Mao's Communist Party)!
I didn't know what to expect from this DVD, and I was very pleasantly surprised by how powerful the film is, and how well the actors perform their roles. Some of the scenes are very gripping, tense, and even scary! It is made on location in Hong Kong and Macau, but for an English-speaking audience. All of the lead actors speak English fluently.
This film could easily appeal to a large variety of viewers. Hipsters that like all things Asian will appreciate the history and culture shown. It is also a love story. Christians will find it interesting to see the persecuted church being accurately portrayed. But this film is equally all these things at the same time! It is not primarily a Christian film, or a romance film, etc. It just has all those aspects to it.
Both of my own parents were of this era, growing up in Asia (in the Dutch East Indies, a.k.a. Indonesia), when WWII brought the Japanese occupiers to their homes! I am not sure if my folks would get upset by this film or not, but I know I was freaked out by some scenes, just knowing what my folks told me about what went on during WWII.
I found it most interesting to see how the paranoid Communists feared Christianity, and religion, as an enemy of communism, so much so that any religious people, even if only vaguely linked to religion, were harshly persecuted, beaten, ran out of their homes, and put into forced labor camps. My maternal grandfather worked forced labor for the Japanese, building railroad tracks for years, separated from the family. This occupation and persecution still affects my family relations, especially the way my parents view life--harsh brutality hiding behind a civilized facade that could break at any moment!
This film moves along at a good pace, in its 90 minutes. They cover a lot of ground, and you will be grimacing and upset at some of the scenes, though none are too graphic for children, the situations are too intense of younger kids.
My biggest inspiration from watching this movie is feeling guilty about how cushy and easy my life is in the USA, while these Christian persecutions continue around the world! It makes me motivated to do more for the work of Christ!
There is a 20 minute "Making Of..." bonus feature which is not mentioned, but is on the Special Features page. There you will see the director and actors talking about making the film, and at the movie premiere. You can even see the actual Nora Lam, the main character in real life, attending the movie premiere, but she says little or nothing. I suppose she doesn't speak english, perhaps, but she does have a Christian charity organization based around her, and they do missionary work in China."