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American Dreams in China (2013) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

Huang Xiao Ming (Actor) | Deng Chao (Actor) | Tong Da Wei (Actor) | Du Juan (Actor)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

In the 1980s, China was undergoing rapid economic reform. This meant that many young Chinese had the opportunity to look for a better life through higher education, both at home and abroad. Many of those hardworking students are now some of China's most successful entrepreneurs. Hong Kong director Peter Chan now pays tribute to those dreamers with American Dreams in China. The hit comedy–drama traces the two-decade journey of three friends, from their humble university days to becoming the co-founders of an amazingly successful English school. While the story is based on a real English education institute in China, Chan also integrates some of his own experiences as a foreign student in the United States into the film.

Chan's first character drama since his award-winning classic Comrades, Almost a Love Story, Dreams may lack the spectacle of Warlords or the visceral action of Wu Xia. However, it compensates for that with a strong cast, comprised of Huang Xiaoming (The Last Tycoon), Tong Dawei (The Flowers of War) and Deng Chao (The Four), as well as the acting debut of supermodel Du Juan. The legendary Christopher Doyle (Chungking Express, Happy Together) also brings his eye for exquisite visuals as the cinematographer of this humorous drama about friendship, ambition and English–language education.

Cheng Dongxing (Huang Xiaoming), Meng Xiaojun (Deng Chao) and Wang Yang (Tong Dawei) are three university friends who, like many other young people in 1980s China, dream of going to the United States. However, only Xiaojun is able to get a visa to the United States, leaving his two friends behind. After getting fired from his dead-end English teaching job in the university and a failed relationship with the beautiful Su Mei (Du Juan), Dongxing learns to turn his life's failures into lesson material. With Wang Yang's help, Dongxing's small private English teaching lessons eventually become a small English school in a run-down countryside factory. When Xiaojun returns to China, disillusioned about the so-called "American Dream," he decides to join Dongxing and Yang's school. Within just a few years, their school grows into an education empire.

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Technical Information

Product Title: American Dreams in China (2013) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) 中國合伙人 (2013) (DVD) (香港版) 中国合伙人 (2013) (DVD) (香港版) 中國合伙人 (2013) (DVD) (香港版) American Dreams in China (2013) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Also known as: 海闊天空 海阔天空
Artist Name(s): Huang Xiao Ming (Actor) | Deng Chao (Actor) | Tong Da Wei (Actor) | Du Juan (Actor) 黃曉明 (Actor) | 鄧超 (Actor) | 佟 大為 (Actor) | 杜鵑 (Actor) 黄 晓明 (Actor) | 邓超 (Actor) | 佟 大为 (Actor) | 杜鹃 (Actor) 黄暁明 (ホァン・シァオミン) (Actor) | 鄧超 (タン・チャオ)   (Actor) | 佟大為 (トン・ダーウェイ) (Actor) | 杜鵑 (ドゥ・ジュアン) (Actor) Huang Xiao Ming (Actor) | Deng Chao (Actor) | Tong Da Wei (Actor) | Du Juan (Actor)
Director: Peter Chan 陳可辛 陈可辛 陳可辛 (ピーター・チャン) Peter Chan
Producer: Peter Chan 陳可辛 陈可辛 陳可辛 (ピーター・チャン) Peter Chan
Release Date: 2013-10-31
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Place of Origin: Hong Kong, China
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital EX(TM) / THX Surround EX(TM)
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Rating: IIA
Duration: 111 (mins)
Publisher: Edko Films Ltd. (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1034333289

Product Information

* Special Features:
- Theatrcial Trailer
- Making Of
- Photo Gallery

During the economic reform period of the 80’s, three undergraduates bind together by a common ambition — to live the American dream. They are Cheng Dongqing, a hillbilly who refuses to accept his destiny of being a farmer; Meng Xiaojun, a self-confident, cynical intellectual; and Wang Yang, an idealistic romantic poet.

Dongqing decides to turn his tutorial effort into a full-time business and summons Yang to help him along. Xiaojun, having returned from America, immediately joins force with his buddies to establish New Vision Institute. With their unique charisma, they turn New Vision into an instant success and create a media sensation overnight.

However, the sudden fame and fortune are gradually tearing their friendship apart...

Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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This film has won 5 award(s) and received 14 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "American Dreams in China (2013) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

December 30, 2013

Peter Chan has always been one of the more interesting and accomplished new wave Hong Kong directors, and one who has adapted well to working with the Mainland market, whether turning out character dramas such as his acclaimed Comrades, Almost a Love Story historical epics like Warlord or the martial arts of Wu Xia For his latest film, American Dreams in China, he heads back to the 1980s to chart the rise of three young entrepreneurs, who as the title suggests yearn to head to the US to seek fortune and opportunity. Taking the lead roles are a trio of top Chinese talent, actors Huang Xiaoming (The Last Tycoon), Tong Dawei (The Flowers of War) and Deng Chao (The Four), backed by a supporting cast that includes supermodel Du Juan.

The film begins with three university friends, Cheng Dongxing (Huang Xiaoming), Meng Xiaojun (Deng Chao) and Wang Yang (Tong Dawei), all trying to get visas to live and work in the US. Though only Xiaojun succeeds, the other two start up a small business teaching English to students, using their own experiences in life and love to get their educational messages across, in particular Dongxing's relationship with the gorgeous Su Mei (Du Juan). The enterprise takes off in a big way, and when Xiaojun returns to China he joins them, adding his ambition and financial acumen to their dreams. Through hard work, sweat and sacrifice the three friends grow the business into an education empire, though with their success comes new challenges and problems.

Based on the true story of a real life Chinese language school, American Dreams in China certainly covers some interesting material, and Peter Chan does a good job of balancing a character drama about ambition and friendship with an exploration of Chinese economic and education reform over the last few decades. The film charts a period of fascinating change, and though it never gets too deep, there's a fair amount of substance here, as well as nostalgia for Chinese viewers and a glimpse of a very different educational culture and system for Western viewers. Culture clashes rear their heads during the later stages of the film, and though this isn't handled quite so well, coming across as a bit simplistic and patronising (not least due to some pretty bad non-acting from the supporting western cast), it's easy enough to see what Chan was aiming for.

The film also works well on a more basic level in following the three friends, with some nice anecdotal details making the narrative involving and believable - as well as the real life company's story, the script apparently drew upon some of Chan's own experiences in the US as an exchange student. The three main characters are all reasonably well written and likeable, and the ways in which their relationships develop and their fortunes change is entertaining and very watchable. Huang Xiaoming, Deng Chao and Wang Yang all turn in decent performances, and while there aren't too many surprises in the way that things turn out the film does hold the interest. Chan's direction is solid, with a well-judged pace and a good mix of laughs and drama, and the film benefits from a scattering of light hearted moments and a general lack of the kind of manipulative melodrama that might have been expected. Some attractive visuals from veteran cinematographer also help, going some way to provide a convincing and colourful period setting, the film looking good throughout without ever feeling too glossy.

While ultimately American Dreams in China is a pretty straightforward offering, and Chan might have showed a little more ambition in digging beneath the surface, there's enough here to make it worth watching. Enjoyable both as a bit of modern history and as a film about friendship, Chan again displays a great grasp of character, and most viewers with an interest in the subject matter or the cast should come away satisfied.

by James Mudge -

Editor's Pick of "American Dreams in China (2013) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

Picked By Ivy Wong
See all this editor's picks

October 22, 2013

A commercial success only in China
American Dreams in China is probably one of director Peter Chan's most personal works yet in which he traces back to his roots and identity as a study-abroad Hong Kong-Chinese. Returning to his favorite subject of love and friendship like in He's a Woman She's a Man and Comrades, Almost a Love Story, he explores the coming of age of three Chinese students, their ambitions and dreams. As ironic as it may sound, Chan, who was born and raised in Hong Kong with a strong American influence, made a quintessential Mainland movie that also primarily aims at the Mainland market. The movie addresses both followers of the American dream and modern-day patriotic Chinese who believe in success in their home country.

The story spans three decades to tell the story of three friends who first met and bonded at Yenching University in Beijing in the 80s. Cheng Dongxing (Huang Xiaoming) is a geeky country boy, Wang Yang (Tong Dawei) is a long-haired idealist and Meng Xiaojun (Deng Chao), a character whose background resembles Peter Chan's, is a sophisticated intellect whose family was educated in America. Just like their peers, their eyes are fixated only on a visa to go to America upon graduation. However, that dream stopped for Cheng and Wang when their applications got rejected, so they could only see Meng off at the airport.

Falsely believing that his real life is outside of China, Cheng makes a living by becoming an English teacher who likes to mock his own life. Years later, Meng, who vowed to make it big in America, returns to home soil disheartened, and is surprised to witness the birth of a blooming educational business founded by Cheng and Wang. With his New World enterprise, Cheng, who had been dubbed a loser all his life, begins to realize Meng's broken American dream – only in China. In fact, Meng's experience shares many similarities with Chan's career as a director who once ventured out to America and eventually returned to his homeland where he's earned his success.

The friendships of the trio are put to test with their conflicting ideologies for the business – Meng is eager to make the business go public as a way for redemption while Cheng remains true to his conservative ways. In the end, their differences are resolved as they join hands to fight a lawsuit in America. Cheng's eloquent English speech leaves his American prosecutors speechless and brings the movie to its climax. Peter Chan carefully constructed the hearing from a losing battle to a winning case in a bid to represent the rise of China and fulfill the somewhat vengeful mindset of some audiences and, perhaps, Chan's as well.

Chan's selection of pop music and relatively soft historical events add appeal to the Chinese market. He inserts household pop songs and mentions only KFC's invasion in 1987 and China's failed Olympic bid in 2000 while carefully leaving out controversial events such as the protest at Tiananmen Square in 1989 to softly call for audiences' resonance.

American Dreams in China is a successful commercial movie as it connects emotionally to viewers with the success story of a peanut and his business (which is loosely based on China's New Oriental empire), the start of China's economic reform in the 80s and the hardships experienced by Chinese people in a foreign land. Peter Chan bears firmly in mind his target audience and employs a full Mainland cast that tells a convincing story of a group of ambitious intellects in the 80s. The grand finale, where Cheng fixes a light bulb himself as CEO in his multi-story institution, hammers home the message that someone coming from a minimal background can also make it big in his very own motherland, China.

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