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The Equation of Love and Death

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Title: The Equation of Love and Death  
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Subject: Zhou Xun, List of films: E, Jeon Do-yeon, List of Chinese films of the 2000s, Cao Baoping, 3rd Asian Film Awards
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The Equation of Love and Death

The Equation of Love and Death
File:Equation Love Death.jpg
Directed by Cao Baoping
Produced by Wang Zhonglei
Tsui Siu-Ming
Wang Zhongjun
Written by Cao Baoping
Starring Zhou Xun
Deng Chao
Zhang Hanyu
Music by Dou Wei
Cinematography Yang Shu
Editing by Mou Xiaojie
Distributed by Huayi Brothers
Release date(s)
Running time 96 minutes
Country China
Language Mandarin
Budget $1,500,000
Box office $1,910,611[1]

The Equation of Love and Death (Chinese: 李米的猜想; pinyin: lǐ mǐ de cāi xiǎng; literally "Li Mi's Supposition") is a 2008 Chinese dramatic film written and directed by Cao Baoping and starring Zhou Xun. The film is a Chinese (Huayi Brothers) and Hong Kong (Sundream Motion Pictures) co-production.[2] It is Cao's second solo feature after 2006's Trouble Makers.

The Equation of Love and Death premiered in China on September 18, 2008 in Shanghai[3] and had its North American premiere at the 2008 Vancouver International Film Festival where it was part of the Dragons and Tigers side competition.[4]

The Equation of Love and Death tells the story of Li Mi (played by Zhou Xun), a Kunming cab driver who longs for the day she can be reunited with her missing boyfriend. After a case of mistaken identity, a kidnapping, and a threat of extortion, Li Mi's dream may be on the cusp of becoming a reality.


  • Zhou Xun as Li Mi, the film's heroine, Li Mi is a chain-smoking cabbie. Her boyfriend disappeared years ago, but she still reads and memorizes the letters that he occasionally sends her.
  • Zhang Hanyu as Ye Qingcheng, a police detective who becomes involved in Li Mi's story.
  • Actor Deng Chao plays two roles in the film: as Fang Wen, Li Mi's long lost boyfriend, Ma Bing, a man who may be Fang Wen in disguise.
  • Wang Ning as Feifei, Yanhui's wife.
  • Wang Baoqiang as Qiu Shuitian, one of Li Mi's passengers, a bumbling drug smuggler.
  • Wang Yanhui as Qiu Huogui, another of Li Mi's passengers, another smuggler.


Early reviews by western critics suggested that Cao Baoping's sophomore film was a stylish thriller/drama, but that much depended on the power of Zhou Xun's performance as Li Mi. Shelly Kraicer, the Chinese film scholar and curator of the Vancouver International Film Festival's Dragons and Tigers competition noted that while director "Cao Baoping is an expert at orchestrating frenzy," the film ultimately belonged to Zhou Xun.[4] Despite the praise, the film would not go on to win the award (which went to Emily Tang's Perfect Life). Variety critic Derek Elley also wrote in his review that the film was "motored by another saturated [performance] by the throaty-voiced Zhou."[2]

Other critics saw the film as yet another example of China's growing sophistication with "genre films." The China Film Journal in its final verdict argued that while the film was not "life-changing," it was nevertheless a "step in the right direction" and that audiences would not mind "seeing a few more Memento-esque films" coming out of China in the near future.[5]

The film won the Altadis New Directors Award at the 2008 San Sebastian International Film Festival.[6]


External links

  • (Chinese) Official site
  • Internet Movie Database
  • at the Chinese Movie Database
  • at Cinemasie
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