In many ways the plot is a primary ingredient in this Shanghai film about the tragedy of a life misspent in hiding the truth due to noble, if misguided, intentions. The story begins with two married Chinese medical students who are studying abroad in the 1950s, only to have their relationship torn apart when the wife is deported to Mongolia for some unwise political views she expressed. She leaves, and rather than tell her husband that she has discovered she is pregnant, she gets a divorce and gives birth to a baby girl. Two decades later, the mother is rehabilitated, and the daughter is grown up and has become a professional dancer. Her mother comes to one of her performances, at which the daughter falls and injures her foot - an injury that adds to the mother's personal tragedy when the daughter is treated by a doctor who is actually her father. This convolution is not the only twist and turn for the daughter, she has also managed to fall in love with the son of the man who sent her mother to Mongolia. The plot thickens, and the handkerchiefs come out as the film and the mother work out the decisions that must be made as to how much and what to reveal, and what to keep hidden forever.
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