Synopsis by Mark Deming
Love and war leads to conflicted alliances between two couples in this period romantic drama from China. In 1937, Lu Ping (Chen Kun) is a barber working in Shanghai as his nation is locked in a war with Japan. While Lu Ping is in love with a beautiful singer, Yu Mian (Wang Yajie), when he mistakenly kills a Japanese GI he is forced to leave her and hide from the law in a remote village. Song Fengnian (Ren Guangzhi), whose brother ran the shop where Lu worked, agrees to take him in, and he gets to know Song's daughter, an alluring young woman named Jiayi (Zeng Li) who is engaged to marry Ye Jiangtian (Liu Guanjun), a man on track to become a career military officer. Lu forgets all about Yu Mian when he meets Jiayi, and she seems to be taken with him. However, Ye can offer Jiayi a financial stability Lu cannot, and she cannot bring herself to break off her engagement. When the war comes to an end in 1945, Lu returns to Shanghai, and resumes his romance with Yu Mian. However, Ye and Jiayi soon relocate to Shanghai as well, and as Lu and Jiayi try to channel their mutual attraction into a friendship, Ye begins an affair with Yu. Lifashi (aka The Music Box) was the final feature film for Chen Yifei; he died before final work could be completed on the picture, and his friend and colleague Ng See-yuen stepped in to finish the project.