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Year: 2000
USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Twentieth Century Fox
Cast: Jie Dong, Lifan Dong, Benshan Zhao
Director: Yimou Zhang
Country: China
Language: Mandarin (English subtitles)
UK: 95 mins
USA Rated: PG for thematic elements and language
UK Certificate: PG contains mild language
USA Release Date: 26 July 2002 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 27 September 2002 (Limited Release)


Old Zhao, a retired worker, fell in love with a big woman, and his greatest wish was to marry her. It embarrassed him that on their first date the woman asked for 50 000 RMB to cover the cost of the wedding. In order to keep the woman of his dreams from leaving him, he promised her the money on the spot. But without a penny in his pockets, he was forced to go here and there, borrowing money from everyone he knew.

Xiao Fu, Old Zhao's apprentice, thought of a solution. It was to make money by turning an old train car behind the factory into a place for lovers to 'date'. After decorating and naming the car 'The Happy Times House', business began. Though Old Zhao doesn't want to go through all of this, he forced himself to continue in order to marry the woman he loves. Old Zhao lied and boasted when he told the Big Woman he was the chief manager of the Happy Times Hotel.

One day, when Old Zhao was visiting the Big Woman, he met the young blind girl left by the woman's ex-husband. The Big Woman disliked the young girl and wanted to relieve herself of the burden of caring for her. She played upon Old Zhao's feelings and asked him to employ the blind girl. Old Zhao found himself in a dilemma. Pressured by his hope for marriage, he felt compelled to have the young girl come work in the 'Happy Times House'.

Unfortunately, the old car was suspended in the air when Old Zhao brought the blind girl to 'work'. He had to send the girl back, but there was no longer any place for the girl in the woman's house. Looking at the homeless girl, Old Zhao was overcome by pity and brought her back to his own home. Since the girl had a professional skill, with the help of Xiao Fu and other workers, Old Zhao turned the discarded workshop into a massage parlor and helped her to regain her confidence.

Kind-hearted people like Old Zhao, the blind girl, and the workers decided to faithfully continue with this bittersweet irony.


Feature Running Time: 93 minutes
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16x9)
Sound Quality: Mandarin 5.1

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