Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Although If I Were for Real is a joint production between Taiwanese and Hong Kong teams, it was banned in the latter city because of its critical look at the privileged few in mainland China. The film is based on a play by three Shanghai writers, imprisoned in China for their views at the time the film was released. At the end of the 1970s, Li Hsiao-chang (Alan Tam) was a young man determined to go to Shanghai to see his pregnant girlfriend. He manages to bribe his way out of his commune for a 10-day leave of absence, and once in Shanghai, he is mistaken for the son of a high government official -- and when he realizes how well he is treated because of his supposed social position, he decides to stay with his new identity. As long as he is related to the summits of officialdom, his favor is sought by everyone, using any means at their disposal. While enjoying his new life to the hilt, Li is eventually unmasked and has to face the dire consequences of falsely impersonating the honorable son of an esteemed government deputy. As he is taken away by the police, he makes it clear that if he were really this son taking bribes from fawning underlings he would never go to jail (if he were real). It is the impersonation that is the crime.
bribery, commune, girlfriend, impersonation, mistaken-identity, pregnancy