The Soong Sistersis a 1997 Hong Kong historical drama film based on the lives of the Soong sisters from 1911 to 1949. The sisters married the most important historical figures— Sun Yat-sen , Chiang Kai-shek and K'ung Hsiang-hsi —in the founding of the Republic of China , making their family the focal point of every major decision made in modern Chinese history. Directed by Mabel Cheung , the film starred Maggie Cheung , Michelle Yeoh and Vivian Wu as the sisters.
The film opens with a scene of the three Soong sisters in their childhood in the late Qing dynasty . Their father, Charlie Soong , demonstrates the wealth and prestige of his family by running one of the most successful printing businesses. The sisters later travel abroad to attend Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia , United States.
Of the three sisters, the eldest, Soong Ai-ling , is the first to get married in 1914. Her husband is K'ung Hsiang-hsi , a wealthy banker.
Sun Yat-sen is a fugitive of the weakening Qing government and he lives in exile in Japan. He weds Soong Ching-ling , despite stern opposition from Charlie Soong. After the Qing dynasty is overthrown by the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, Sun becomes the Republic of China 's first provisional president and founds the Kuomintang (Nationalist Party). Sun dies of liver cancer in 1925 and leaves his wife with his dying wish of Chinese reunification .
Chiang Kai-shek succeeds Sun Yat-sen as the new chief of the Kuomintang. In 1927, he marries Soong May-ling , the youngest of the three sisters. The Chiang couple oppose the Communist Party . The widowed Soong Ching-ling often quarrels with the family, accusing Chiang Kai-shek and his followers of persecuting the Communists and hindering the Chinese reunification. She leaves the Kuomintang and openly voices dissent against Chiang. The three sisters were hardly reunited again, except at their parents' deathbeds and on other special occasions.
While the Kuomintang and Communists are fighting with each other, the Empire of Japan takes advantage of the situation to invade China in the 1930s. In 1936, Chiang Kai-shek is kidnapped by Zhang Xueliang in the Xi'an Incident . He is forced to make peace with the Communists and focus on dealing with the Japanese invaders, leading to the Second Sino-Japanese War . The Chinese Civil War continues after the Japanese surrender in 1945 until around late 1949.
The film ends with actual footage of the Kuomintang relocating the government of the Republic of China to Taiwan, and a quick glimpse of Communist leader Mao Zedong proclaiming the People's Republic of China on 1 October 1949 in Beijing.