The power was palpable as producer Wendi Murdoch made her way to the screening of her first full-length feature film, “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” at the Motion Picture Association of America. Washington’s politicos and media insiders from Chris Dodd to Ambassador Zhang of China came to the MPAA to support the filmmaker. The film, which stars actresses Gianna Jun and Li BingBing, was inspired by the bestselling novel of the same name, written by Lisa See. Due to the project’s international roots, a discussion about bi-cultural filmmaking preceded the screening, focusing on how a Chinese-American co-production process can foster a vital partnership between the two countries’ film industries.
Yet despite the movers and shakers in attendance, the star of the evening was the film itself. The plot follows two sets of female friends – one pair from 19th century China and one from modern day Shanghai. The parallel stories challenge the viewer to notice not only what has changed about Chinese culture, but also what universal human themes remain the same.