Film pick: The Golden Era (PG13)

Tang Wei and Feng Shaofeng are compelling as lovers Xiao Hong and Xiao Jun in The Golden Era.

The Golden Era is about the bohemian life of the talented and ill-fated Chinese writer Xiao Hong (Lust, Caution, 2007's Tang Wei).

Set in 1930s China, she wants to find love and wants to be able to write - both goals turn out to be tall orders. She is bold and brash in following her heart - eloping with a married cousin and later shacking up with the man she was originally supposed to marry.

Abandoned by the latter, saddled with a huge hotel bill she cannot pay and pregnant, she meets Xiao Jun.Tabloids today would have had a field day squeezing her juicy story dry, but director Ann Hui (A Simple Life, 2011) is more interested in a nuanced portrayal of a character whose joy, pain and loneliness is made palpable by Tang's charismatic presence.

As the mercurial Xiao Jun, Feng Shaofeng (Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon, 2013) is also compelling to watch.

This article was first published on October 24, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.