Shanghai, 1930. Mr. TANG (Li Boatian), the godfather chief of the Tang family-run underground Green dynasty, is the city's overlord. Having allied himself with Chiang Kai-shek and participated in the 1927 massacre of the Communists, he controls the opium and prostitution trade. He has also acquired the services of XIAO JINBAO (Gong Li), the most beautiful prostitute-singer in Shanghai.
The story of SHANGHAI TRIAD is told from the point of view of a fourteen-year-old boy, TANG SHUISHENG (Wang Xiao Xiao), whose uncle has brought him into the TANG Brotherhood. His job is to watch on Xiao Jinbao. Ultimately, Shuisheng becomes the only person to whom Xiao Jinbao can talk openly and whose relationship with her is not motivated by power or greed.
By 1930, however, new alliances were forming- with the Japanese in particular- and new activities developing, the Greens' number two man, SONG (Shun Chun) tries to take control of the gang, the city and Xiao Jinbao. In secret, Xiao Jinboa becomes Song's mistress, and together they set a trap for Mr. Tang. Their plan fails, and Mr. Tang believes that his deputy will try to eliminate Xiao Jinbao for she was the only witness and accomplice .
Using Xiao Jinbao as bait, however, Mr. Tang banishes her to a small, heavily guarded island where he keeps her.
On this island-prison, Xiao Jinbao gradually understands her role. She has used her charms and talent to obtain her wealth and status. Only now does she realize that the men in her life are ready to sacrifice her when she is of no further use.
Last modified 1-December-1995.
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