Course:ASIA325/2023/Our Time Will Come

From UBC Wiki

Research Project Title:"Resistance and Empowerment: An analysis of the commoner in 'Our Time Will Come'"

Group Members' Contributions

YD was responsible for the stories behind the film, mainly collecting interviews with the creative team. In addition to that, YD was also in charge of the comparative analysis, analyzing the differences between Our Time Will Come and The Flowers of War as similar war films. EX was responsible for the history of the film's reception, including the collection and analysis of reviews from Eastern and Western media and general audiences. EX was also in charge of the comparative analysis to evaluate how similar the two films are, and also modified the conclusion and some other parts. The contents of comparative analysis and alternative interpretations are based on the group members' discussions. BZ was in charge of the Scholarly Review Section, mainly responsible for analyzing each article and summarizing each review. BZ also wrote the first paragraph the alternative interpretation section. RL was responsible for the introduction, conclusion, as well as writing and modifying the alternative interpretation section.


Our Time Will Come is a historical movie directed by Ann Hui, adapted from real historical events. The film was released on July 1, 2017, and the total duration of the film is 130 minutes.The historical film "Our Time Will Come" is set in Hong Kong during World War II and follows a group of guerrilla combatants and their struggle against Japanese occupation. The film is centered around the character of Fang Lan, a school teacher who becomes involved in the resistance movement.

The historical film "Our Time Will Come" is set in Hong Kong during World War II and follows a group of guerrilla combatants and their struggle against Japanese occupation. The story follows the lives of a group of Chinese resistance fighters and civilians as they fight against the Japanese forces and struggle to maintain their way of life and their cultural identity.

Fong Lan, a schoolteacher played by Zhou Xun, becomes involved in the resistance movement after she meets guerrilla leader named Blackie Lau. Together, they embark on dangerous missions to smuggle weapons and supplies, and to rescue and hide fellow resistance fighters.As the Japanese tighten their grip on Hong Kong, Fong Lan and her fellow resistance fighters must make increasingly difficult choices about who to trust and how to survive.

Keywords: historical film, wartime resistance, female empowerment, anti-aggression, common people resisting aggression


1. Analysis of how the film's themes of resistance, patriotism, and sacrifice are communicated through their expressions, dialogues and behaviors of the characters.

2. How do the performances of the actors, notably Zhou Xun as the main character Fang Lan, contribute to the emotional impact of the film?

3. Examining the cinematography, direction, and overall production value of the film, including its use of historical accuracy and aesthetic license.

4. Conclusion and recommendation for the film, considering its strengths and shortcomings and identifying the audience most likely to appreciate it.

Actor Character
Zhou Xun Fang Lan
Peng Yuyan Liu Heizai
Huo Jianhua Li Jinrong
Ye Dexian Fang Lan's mother
Guo Tao Mao Dun
Jiang Wenli Mao Dun's wife

Stories Behind the Film

Research and Preparation

Ann Hui and her team spent three years researching and preparing for the movie. This was a reflection of the director's dedication to making the film as authentic as possible. Hui wanted to ensure that the historical context and the experiences of those who lived through the Japanese occupation were accurately portrayed on screen[1].

Screenwriter He Jiping explained in an interview that Our Time Will Come is different from other counter-Japanese films on the market, as the script focuses on the war in Hong Kong and the ordinary people in the war. He said that in the pre-creation stage, he collected a lot of information, plus video and interviews, and the play is a true reenactment of the guerrillas played by Leung Ka-fai. In order to keep the plot as close to reality as possible, the creative team often went to the community center to conduct observations and interviews, because that is where the lower class people of Hong Kong gather, Ann Hui director and Ho scriptwriter ,wobservedthe daily lifvesof the citizens and their body language, facial expressions, clothing ,and talk. The careful observation of the lives of the lower class people largely inspired Ho's writers when creating the film. This also allowed the team to gain a deeper understanding of the time period and the people involved, and to capture the nuances of life during that tumultuous period in Hong Kong's history [2].

Historical Accuracy

In the interview, Ann Hui emphasized that 80% of the film's story is based on real historical events, and she tied together two true stories. One is the rescue of a famous literary figure who stayed in Hong Kong from the fallen area at the beginning of the fall. The other is the story of the involvement of ordinary women in the guerrilla forces of the East River. Ann Hui was committed to making the movie as historically accurate as possible. She worked closely with a team of historians and consulted with survivors and experts to ensure that the story was portrayed authentically. In an interview with The Straits Times, Hui said that she wanted to make sure that the story was not only historically accurate, but also emotionally true to the experiences of those who lived through the Japanese occupation[1].

To achieve this level of accuracy, Hui and her team dove deep into the historical context of the story, researching everything from the political climate of the time to the everyday experiences of the people who lived through it. This attention to detail is evident throughout the movie, from the period-accurate costumes and props to the authentic dialogue and cultural references[1].

Our Time Will Come behind-the-scenes photo

The Lead Roles

Ann Hui revealed her thoughts on casting in the interview, stressing that the purpose of this casting was to have the actors fill in the gaps of the roles with their personal charisma, because there was no room to unfold the story of anyone other than the female lead, Fang Lan. For this reason, she is proud that the actors in this film all feel very much in line with the era of the film and that their personalities are in accordance with the settings of the characters [3]

In an interview Zhou Xun (Fang Lan)  said that she was initially hesitant to take on the role because she felt that Fang Lan was too far removed from her own personality. However, after speaking with Ann Hui and researching the historical context of the story, Zhou came to realize the importance of portraying Fang Lan's courage and determination. She saw the character as a symbol of resilience and strength in the face of adversity, and felt honored to have the opportunity to bring her story to life on screen[4].  

Film Soundtrack

The outstanding original score was composed by Japanese Maestro Joe Hisaishi, and in keeping with the realistic style of the film. The music is delivered gradually, leaving large portions of the film without a soundtrack. The outstanding original score was composed by Japanese Maestro Joe Hisaishi, and in keeping with the realistic style of the film. The music is delivered gradually, leaving large portions of the film without a soundtrack; however, when it is on, particularly during the final crescendo, it is a chilling experience [5].

Filming Challenges

The movie was filmed in various locations in Hong Kong, which posed several challenges for the crew. One of the most challenging scenes to film was a sequence that takes place on a fishing boat in the middle of the sea. The scene required the crew to work in difficult conditions for several hours, battling strong winds and choppy waves. The crew had to be creative in finding ways to stabilize the camera and keep it steady while filming the scene, which was crucial in maintaining the realism of the story[6]

Man Lim-excellent chung's production design depicts an accurate and fascinating recreation of 1940s Hong Kong. Such as the Lan family house in Wan Chai to the pier on Victoria Harbor and the famous landmark, the Star Ferry. It is also worth mentioning that the guerrilla hideaway is filmed in the New Territories, north of the city [5].

In addition to the challenges posed by filming on location, the crew also had to navigate the logistical challenges of creating an authentic period piece. This involved designing and building sets that accurately reflected the time period, as well as sourcing period costumes and props. The attention to detail in the production design was crucial in creating a sense of immersion for the audience and transporting them back in time to the era of the Japanese occupation. [6]

Histories of the Film’s Reception

Critical Reception

With 11 nominations, Ann Hui’s WWII drama Our Time Will Come led the 37th Hong Kong Film Awards[7], despite the fact that the Shanghai International Film Festival removed it from the opening slot, presumably due to actress Deanie Ip Tak-han’s support for the “Umbrella Movement” protesters. As its Chinese distributors opted to release the film as a “celebratory gift” on July 1, 2017 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover, Our Time Will Come has unintentionally become a focus of politically incendiary commentary and criticism. Since its premiere, the film has been criticized for being pure communist propaganda and overemphasizing the Dongjiang Column of the Guangdong People’s Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Force’s defense of Hong Kong in the early 1940s. As a response, Hui claimed her film was not intended to instruct about history, but rather to highlight her characters’ unique emotions and sentiments.[8]

Newspaper and Magazine Reviews

Many Chinese and Western publications and magazines have provided their own views of this controversial film. New Yorker freelance film critic Simon Abrams published a review claiming that “this is an unsentimental war movie about characters who are forced to consider and live with the consequences of their actions.” He further pointed out that almost no revisionism is audible in this film, and every exchange seems to have a unadorned quality.[9] Also, Ann Hui was praised for her concern for the common people at the 24th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards Presentation Ceremony.[10] Our Time Will Come, as noted by Jason Ooi of Film Stage, “provides a rare feminist, contemplative view of wartime” and “[Fang Lan] resembles ‘the New Woman,’ placed in contrast to older standards embodied by Lan’s overbearing mother, who yells at her to let the men do the dangerous work.”  

Comments by the Public in the East and the West

It appears that eastern and western viewers approach the film from slightly different perspectives, and there are still some criticisms despite the fact that the film as a whole has garnered a good reputation.

This film has a relatively high overall rating among Chinese audiences because the film’s exquisite depiction of ordinary people, eastern classical qualities, and national and cultural connotations appeal to them.

“Although the film’s launch date...may seem to demonstrate a close connection with politics and that special historical context,..., I believe it portrays the appearance of ordinary people in the midst of chaos, as well as the Chinese people’s choice and persistence when their normal life order is disturbed, broken, and even destroyed by war.”[11]

“This film is also expressing the thoughts of revolutionary romanticism, which believes that life is not that significant compared to acting in accordance with what one believes to be right. This is the mindset that has been shared by Chinese literati.”[12]

“Many films today utilize fantasies to appeal to the upper class or grassroots for the box office, but few shoot intellectuals. But this film enables viewers to see both the ordinary and greatness of a great intellectual by presenting Mao Dun’s day-to-day activities to the public.”[13]

However, western audiences may find the film less appealing owing to aesthetic and historical differences.

“It’s a well-shot film with great production design, which was at times a bit too theatrical that chronicles the life and struggles of the Hong Kong resistance members.”[14]

Our Time Will Come really wasn’t all that good. It simply lacks focus on the characters, so I never found myself getting emotionally engaged in their fight.”[15]

“They also chop the film up into assorted vignettes rather than focusing on a central narrative with a clear goal and how they expect to achieve it. I’m not saying that it lacked accuracy, ..., but it didn’t grab me as a film.”[16]

Possible Reasons for Discrepant Receptions

Even though there are disagreements about the film’s main target and revisionism due to factors such as the release date and media hype, both eastern and western audiences have accepted the film’s portrayal of ordinary people in the context of war and chaos. In addition, there are some distinctions between the views of Eastern and Western audiences, perhaps because the Chinese are more affected by Confucian ideas and “collectivist virtues”, whereas western audiences more promote individual awareness, and are more attentive to the realistic sensation and immersive experience of film watching. Chinese audiences, influenced by history, are more likely to integrate the home and country sensations when watching this film, and it is easier for Chinese audiences to capture the unique oriental temperament conveyed by the film-the kinds of things that look out for one other and entrust their lives to one another even without being aware of it. The reception of the film has been formed as a result of these factors, with Eastern and Western audiences having different reactions.

Scholarly Literature Review

Our Time Will Come: Turbulent Times in the Memories of the Ordinary People[17](《明月几时有》:平民记忆中的峥嵘岁月)

by Yang Yanlin, Zhang Fuhai 杨燕玲,张福海

According to this scholarly review, although the reception of Our Time Will Come has been mixed since its 2017 release, with many viewers left confused, the film stands out from contemporary anti-war movies due to its distinctive approach and narrative style that highlights the experiences of ordinary individuals during times of war.

The film uses a particular stylistic approach that involves presenting legendary figures during the war in a more relatable manner. For example, Blackie Lau or Liu Heizai is a celebrated hero known for penetrating enemy bases and eliminating spies and traitors. He is depicted in a lighthearted and humorous way, in contrast to the typical portrayal of such figures as stern and valorous.

By portraying characters as flawed, selfish, and even cowardly, the film aims to create a more realistic depiction of the sacrifices made by those civilians during the war. Mrs. Fang is one such character in the film who represents the countless "civilian heroes" who prioritized their own wellbeings but eventually became a part of the force that drive the invaders away. It is important to recognize that the war was won thanks to the contributions of millions of such "civilian heroes," who fought the war in their unique ways.

Another stylistic technique implemented by the film is to use of daily life scenes as the background of the story. This narrative style is often fragmented, resulting in a less dramatic storyline that never reached its climax. The director encourages the viewers to pay more attention to the portrayal of the details, and the character's conversations throughout the film are more grounded in reality.

In the film's final scene, the shift from dark to bright lighting is seen as a powerful editing technique that transcends the boundaries of space and time, effectively integrating Hong Kong's past and present. This symbolizes the city's victory over its past humiliations and its journey toward freedom and progress.

Our Time Will Come: An Investigation of Cultural Metaphors and Literary Styles[18](《明月几时有》之文化隐喻和文人风格)

by Ma Lunpeng 马纶鹏

According to this scholarly reviewed article, Our Time Will Come has secured a spot in Chinese film history, primarily due to the allegories depicted in the film and the director Ann Hui's rich and poetic film-making style.

The term, "Poetry-Battle" is not only a collision of literary talent or a contest of intelligence but also a confrontation between "Wen Dao (The path of literature)" and "Wu Dao (The path of martial arts)" in Chinese civilization. Colonel Yamaguchi in the film represents the ultimate authority of Wu Dao, while Lee can only counter this force with Wen Dao.

Yamaguchi tend to take initiative and gave unreasonable questions to Lee based on the military superiority granted to him by the Japanese invasion and occupation of China. However, Lee's words ultimately resolved the situation. The allegory behind WenDao and WuDao highlights the historical and cultural complexity of "China and Japan" and emphasizes their entangled relationship.

Our Time Will Come is abundant in allegories, such as fragments of Poetry-Battle, the contrasts between WenDao and WuDao (Chinese and Japanese/historical context), and the imagery of the bright moon. These elements are the film's most prominent literary and artistic features.

Our Time Will Come: Historical Narrative Strategies[19] (电影《明月几时有》的历史叙事策略)

by Guo Jun 郭军

The absence of thrilling war scenes and adrenaline-inducing bullet shots in this film is replaced by the portrayal of the daily physical and emotional struggles of Hong Kong residents and life-like scene depiction. The abandonment of the grand historical narrative is related to Hong Kong's geographical location. As a smaller piece of land, Hong Kong couldn’t serve as the main battlefield for any significant battles during the Anti-Japanese War. Hence, scattered, underground guerilla warfare became the primary mode of resistance which further highlights the differences between this film and other contemporary Anti-Japanese war films that implement grand narratives and epic battle scenes.

Compared to Mainland China, Hong Kong’s recollection of the war are not as comprehensive, or consistent. The employ of de-epic narrative style and toned-down plot conflicts is a deliberate decision made by the director as a narrative strategy. This approach mixes personal emotion and memories with historical events, presenting the viewers with a unique perspective on the well-known history.

Our Time Will Come portrays how the war corroded and devastated daily life. The primary focus of this film is to extract elements from the trivial and complicated daily life to depict the real and mundane life of those ordinary residents in Hong Kong during the war, and how their mentality changes. During this chaotic time, people make choices to ensure their survival. Some become traitors, and some join underground resistances. Those who choose to resist adhere to their inner moral compass, even though they are constantly confronted by dangerous situations.

This film diverges from the typical Anti-Japanese War movie's main theme. For ordinary people, the turbulent history is merely a fleeting episode in their daily life. They did not turn out to be "heroes" after the war but reverted to their normal lives. Just like how Ben became a taxi driver.

Apart from the traditional sentiments of family and country and national righteousness. The war relates to countless vivid individuals and their daily existence. Instead of summarizing events through the collective lens, the story of the war is reconstructed based on the individual dimension.

Humanistic Concern in War-themed Films Directed by Ann Hui - A Look into Boat People and Our Time Will Come [20](许鞍华电影中战争题材的人文关怀——以《投奔怒海》和《明月几时有》为例)

by Dong Rui 董瑞

The central concept of Our Time Will Come encapsulates the hope for the victory of the War of Resistance and conveys a desire for peace. Ann Hui made the decision to not use bloodshed, gunshots, and torture to illuminate the war’s brutality. Instead, she uses internal struggles to express the character’s conflicts, helplessness, and growth. To make the audience emotionally invest in the story and highlight the tragic nature of wars.

In contrast to her early works. Ann Hui’s current films have a sense of warmth, sublimity, and beauty in the ordinary, and it is no long pessimistic. Which reflects her attitude and view toward life and death. There's no excessive sadness instead conveys an unexpected kind of calmness. This shift in Ann Hui’s narrative style did not change her concern for the ordinary characters remains the same. In contrast to mainstream Anti-Japanese war narratives that glorify heroes. Ann Hui’s narrative style that accompanies death and separation also showcases her opposition to war and yearning for peace.

Ann Hui focuses on promoting the good and beauty in human nature, allowing the audience to re-evaluate the history of the war through the characters trapped in the era, expressing hope for a wave of eternal peace.

Comparative Analysis

The film The Flowers of War is about a group of brave prostitutes who gave their lives to save innocent young female students. The historical contexts, narrative theories, and focuses in these two works are remarkably similar, yet there are also notable contrasts in representations of women, themes, and color tone & styles.

1) Historical Contexts

Our Time Will Come, Background and Historical Period

First and foremost, Our Time Will Come and The Flowers of War draw from similar national historical dilemmas, adapted based on real historical incidents that took place in China during the Chinese war of resistance against Japanese aggression. Our Time Will Come is set during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in the 1940s, and The Flowers of War is set during the Nanjing Massacre in 1937. Though the original stories on which these two films are based were not very well-known, they both depict the tragedy and sufferings of the Chinese people during that volatile time. The audiences are affected by the ups and downs of the characters’ destinies and emotionally transported back in time to that war-torn age through the presentation on the screen.

2) Narrative Theories

The Flowers of War, Female Consciousness

Second, both films are brilliant examples of feminism and female consciousness. In the story of Our Time Will Come, both Chinese men and women are rendered vulnerable against the Japanese invaders, but Fang Lan, who represents Chinese women, takes the initiative to stand up and fight for themselves during this terrifying time. She succeeds in gaining recognition outside the home as a soldier in the revolution against Japanese aggression. The place where Fang Lan shows the value of life goes beyond the family, the most basic and closed social unit for women.[21] In The Flowers of War , on the surface, the protagonist, Yu Mo, has followed and utilized the expectations and criteria of conventional patriarchal society for women since she first appears, showing her feminine image to John, the male who symbolizes the patriarchal ruler in the film. Specifically, Yu Mo’s graceful body, beautiful cheongsam, endearing smile, and gentle demeanor all fit with what patriarchal society expects of women. Yet in essence, Yu Mo is fighting for a chance at survival for herself and her sisters by using her feminine body to gain power. She made it possible for the male and female, who are initially unequal in primary and secondary positions, to communicate through her fluent English dialogues and proper Western etiquette. More importantly, Yu Mo rejected John’s first invitation to have sex in exchange for money, which can be seen as a sign of her refusal to objectify women and her pursuit of the freedom of women’s identity. In addition to this, the plot of Yu Mo and the other prostitutes, who pretend to be school girls and sacrifice their lives for the girls, challenges the stereotype of marginalized women, the so-called “heartless bitch” in traditional patriarchal society.[22]

The Flowers of War, Yu Mo and other prostitutes play Pipa for the last time before dying

3) Focused Group of People

Third, both films focus on ordinary people in turbulent times. These two films emphasize their concern for individual lives by showing ordinary people’s choices at that particular era, rather than stressing the tall, powerful image of the protagonists. In Our Time Will Come, Fang Lan’s mother is portrayed as an elderly woman who is stingy about the rent and other aspects of daily life. She is initially opposed to her daughter’s participation in the Anti-Japanese War. After perceiving Fang Lan’s resolute stance, however, the mother gives her daughter’s work her wholehearted support and ultimately sacrifices her own life for it. In The Flowers of War, the prostitutes enjoy eating, drinking, playing, and flirting with men, but their ultimate sacrifice to safeguard the school girls’ chastity shines with boundless human light. They are regular individuals living under difficult circumstances, whether they are Fang Lan and her mother or Yu Mo and other prostitutes. They could be forgotten because of their insignificance in history, the cost they incur, though, is serious and harsh. But it is also the choices of countless ordinary people that constitute the memory of that era and promote the process of history.

As for differences, Fang Lan in Our Time Will Come and Yu Mo in The Flowers of War are both female characters who play important roles in resisting Japanese occupation during World War II. However, there are several key differences between them.

1) Representations of women

Fang Lan can be seen as embodying more traditional female roles and expectations, when compared to Yu Mo. For example, Fang Lan  is depicted as a schoolteacher, a profession that is often associated with women in traditional gender roles. Her character is also shown to be nurturing and caring, taking care of her students and looking after her family. Additionally, Fang Lan's relationship with a male resistance fighter, played by Eddie Peng, can be seen as conforming to traditional gender expectations in which the man takes on a more dominant and protective role. The relation between the two of them was very much in line with the conservative nature of the times.

On the other hand, Yu Mo is a representative who does not conform to the traditional image of women. Her profession is that of a prostitute at the lowest level of society, which means that she has lost the most valued reputation of a woman during the feudal period. In the movie we can see that Yu Mo's behavior is very bold, there are many scenes showing that she can smoke and play mahjong, she also walks in a sexually seductive manner. Moreover, Yu Mo's character is more complex and nuanced than Fang Lan's,  her relation with the male lead character John Miller with elements of both attraction and tension between them. For example, Yu Mo was willing to use her body as a prize to exchange with John in order to escape from Nanjing, and she was not afraid to challenge John so she slapped him when she was belittled. We can see that Yu Mo is not a character who adheres to traditional gender images.

The way Yu Mo interacts with the male character is very bold and it can be seen that she is not a timid and conservative female character.

2) Theme

Despite both being set during wartime, Our Time Will Come and The Flowers of War have different focuses on the theme. Our Time Will Come is a historical drama that focuses on the daily life of ordinary people during the war time, for example their daily life and connections with the surrounding. It is very rare to see civilian life in a war film, and there are even scenes of marriage in the film. This is the point the director wanted to emphasize, to show the easily overlooked ordinary people trying to make a living under difficult circumstances.The film expresses the storyline poetically on a more peaceful and subtle way. The movie is relatively subdued in its use of action and violence and emphasizes character development and emotional depth. The film does not include multiple scenes about war and killing, the audience learns about the cruciality of the war  through the characters' dialogue. The film focuses on the warmth between the characters, for example, the scene of Fang Lan's mother's death is not directly shot but we can experience the heaviness of death from Fang Lan's sadness.The film is more interested in highlighting the touching relationships between people when disaster strikes than the war.

In contrast, The Flowers of War is a more epic and stylized movie that incorporates elements of action and spectacle. It primarily focused on the experiences of a group of Chinese refugees seeking shelter in a church during the Nanking Massacre. The movie explores themes of survival, compassion, and the horrors of war.Therefore, the movie is more emotionally intense and has a more pronounced focus on the horrors of war. For example, the opening scene of the film shows Japanese soldiers brutally chasing and killing schoolgirls, and prostitutes being raped and tortured to death by Japanese soldiers. There are many similar scenes of blood and death in the film, which are meant to remind the audience of the brutality of war and the oppression of women.

The Flowers Of War, students fleeing during the Japanese bombing of Nanking

3) Color Tone & Style

The tone of a movie refers to its emotional quality or atmosphere. Our Time Will Come and The Flowers of War have different tones, which contribute to their distinct styles and approaches to storytelling.

Our Time Will Come has a more subdued and realistic tone. The movie is a historical drama that focuses on the experiences of the Chinese people during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. For example, the characters' clothing colors are dark tones, black, blue gray, and brown are the most frequent colors. The audience can see the production team's efforts in restoring the background of the era, the characters' living environment and dress are simple, in accordance with the historical period of material scarcity. The scenes in the play are also set at night in a field or dimly lit interior, the lack of strong lighting in these scenes sets the tone of the movie as somber and reflective.  This helps to emphasize the struggles and sacrifices of the Chinese resistance fighters as they battle against the occupying forces. The movie's cinematography and color palette are muted and naturalistic, and the pacing is relatively slow and deliberate, allowing for character development and emotional depth.

In Our Time Will Come, Mrs. Mao Dun's costume can represent the costume design of most people in the film, showing the material deprivation of the underclass characters.

In contrast, The Flowers of War has focused on  beautiful cinematography and aesthetics. The movie's cinematography and color palette are more lush and vibrant, with stylized visuals that heighten the movie's emotional impact. For example, the film shows prostitutes rubbed with red lipstick wearing bright dresses, the colors they represent is mostly red and green, which are impactful colors. The film uses their gorgeous and seductive images to create a strong contrast with the war. The pacing of the movie is faster and more action-oriented, with set-piece sequences that are designed to be thrilling and intense. The stained glass in the church symbolizes the blocking of darkness and brutality. The glass has a magnificent and intricate pattern, that is colorful in the light and has a strong impact on the eyes. This glass appears several times in the film, blocking out the outside world (massacre and rape in the city) and maintaining a colorful, dreamy church. Overall, the tone of The Flowers of War is one of grandiosity and spectacle, which befits its epic scope and dramatic subject matter.

Alternative Interpretation

scene 1. 1:12:05

In the film, Mrs. Fang’s initial reaction to Fang Lan’s decision to join the resistance is one of shock and opposition. She clearly expresses her concern for her daughter and fears for her safety. Mrs. Fang believes that killing Japanese is a job for tough and strong men who she sees as heroes, while she sees Fang Lan as wek and clumsy. Despite her harsh words and comments made against her daughter. Mrs. Fang’s only wish is for her daughter to say out of harm’s way and not to be a burden to the resistance force. While her selfishness and greediness may come across as un-praiseworthy qualities, it is undeniable that she is a loving mother who prioritizes the safety of her daughter above anything else. Mrs. Fang’s character is almost relatable to many others. During the war, Mrs. Fang represents the emotional conflicts and challenges faced by many ordinary people, especially mothers. They had to balance between their love for their children, their personal desires, and the need to do what was right for their country. Mrs. Fang's character highlights this importance of considering the bigger picture and making sacrifices during uncertain times.

scene 2 1:45:56

The role of Mrs. Fang in the war was so different before and after. She was "stingy, timid and selfish" because of financial constraints and worrying about her family. However, Mrs. Fang always believed that it was right to fight against Japanese aggression. People are classified as "heroes", and Mrs. Fang hates the rule of the Japanese army even more. But once faced with a big choice between right and wrong.At that time, she will never only care about her own interests. When she learned that Fang Lan joined the resistance organization, she said "Death is not important, but you can't hurt your teammates", which actually marked the completion of Mrs. Fang's identity as an "ordinary hero". When Mrs. Fang sent the information, she escaped the other party’s cross-examination because of her illiteracy. Not enough to be searched and eventually arrested. When Mrs. Fang and Ah Si were arrested, in order to protect Ah Si, Mrs. Fang desperately told Ah Si to pretend not to know her, and finally died under the guns of the Japanese. It is very valuable for Mrs. Fang to abide by her character at critical moments. Although she did not make great contributions, her contributions and sacrifices are still very valuable.


The film Our Time Will Come has been praised for its historical veracity, strong cast performances, and poetic depiction of the fight for freedom and the resistance of ordinary people against the Japanese occupation during World War II. It is widely regarded as a powerful and impressive tribute to the bravery and perseverance of the Hong Kong people during that turbulent historical period. Although some critics hold the view that the film's pacing is slow and it lacks a clear narrative focus, most concur that it is a well-made drama with good aesthetic taste. The film gives a nuanced portrayal of the plight and life picture of the Hong Kong people living under Japanese aggression during World War II while also highlighting the efforts and sacrifices from the common resistance fighters. We would definitely recommend this film to those with an interest in historical dramas or who are looking for a touching narrative about the human spirit and fighting spirit through times of hardship. However, this film may not be the ideal choice for those looking for fast-paced action or standard Hollywood-style warfare films. The film does not concentrate too much on the plot setting of the battle and action sequences, but rather shows the daily lives of ordinary Hong Kong residents during the war and their efforts for underground intelligence work in a more fragmented and detailed manner. Overall, Our Time Will Come is a fresh take on a less-known but memorable history, and we highly recommend it to anyone interested in the genre.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Liu, J (July 3,2017). "幕后: 许鞍华新作《明月几时有》的幕后故事 [Behind the scenes: The story behind Ann Hui's new film "The Golden Era"]". Sohu. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. "电影日报专访何冀平:揭秘《明月几时有》幕后创作经历,透露与姜文合作新片《侠隐》初衷 [Exclusive interview with He Jiping: Revealing the behind-the-scenes creative experience of "The Golden Era" and the original intention of working with Jiang Wen on a new film "Hidden Hero"]". Zhihu. n.d.
  3. "Our Time Will Come Shenzhen roadshow, Ann Hui: It is right to not feel heavy. 《明月几时有》深圳路演,许鞍华:感觉不沉重就对了". Ema Lion Audiovisual Workshop.
  4. Li, J (April 5, 2017). "《风中有朵雨做的云》:"大时代"下的小人物 [The story of "Our Time Will Come": Small characters in a "big era"]". iFeng.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Rosati, A (February 1, 2022). "Our time will come (2017) by Ann Hui. Asian Movie Pulse".
  6. 6.0 6.1 仁直, & 木卫二 (April 5, 2018). "时代的调子,谁能命名--许鞍华与《明月几时有》 [The rhythm of the times, who can name it: Ann Hui and "The Golden Era"]". Cinephilia.
  7. Chu, Karen (June 2, 2018). "Hong Kong Film Awards: 'Our Time Will Come' Leads Noms With 11". The Hollywood Reporter.
  8. Lee, Edmund (July 4, 2017). "Ann Hui digs up Hong Kong's wartime past for Our Time Will Come – and finds controversy wherever she looks". myNews.
  9. Abrams, Simon (July 7, 2017). "Reviews: Our Time Will Come".
  10. 陳, 志華 (March 5, 2018). "《明月幾時有》:滿滿的香港情懷". Filmcritics.
  11. "明月照我还". 豆瓣电影. July 19, 2017.
  12. "文豪多逃兵,村妇真烈士。". 豆瓣电影. July 6, 2017.
  13. "《明月几时有》的朋友圈故事". 豆瓣电影. November 27, 2017.
  14. "Well made film, but nothing new to offer". IMDb. December 1, 2017.
  15. "Not all that interesting for a non-Chinese audience". IMDb. October 5, 2021.
  16. "Not all that interesting for a non-Chinese audience". IMDb. October 5, 2021.
  17. Yang, Yanlin; Zhang, Fuhai (2018). "Our Time Will Come: Turbulent Times in the Memories of the Ordinary People". Home Drama. 5: 85–89 – via CNKI.
  18. Ma, Lunpeng (2018). "Our Time Will Come: An Investigation of Cultural Metaphors and Literary Styles". Stage and Screen Reviews. 2: 63–70 – via CNKI.
  19. Guo, Jun (2019). "Our Time Will Come: Historical Narrative Strategies". Movie Literature. 11: 134–136 – via CNKI.
  20. Dong, Rui (2022). "Humanistic Concern in War-themed Films Directed by Ann Hui - A Look into Boat People and Our Time Will Come". Masterpieces Review. 03: 156–158 – via CNKI.
  21. 王, 林栋 (2018). "《明月几时有》的女性主义色彩". 电影文学: 78–79 – via CNKI.
  22. 王, 雅琴 (2013). "《金陵十三钗》中的文化政治". 热片劲评MOVIE LITERATURE: 73–74 – via CNKI.