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 straitstimes.com for more stories.