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Directed by Henrik Ruben Genz
Produced by Dag Alveberg
Written by Kim Fupz Aakeson
Starring Bjarne Henriksen
Vivian Wu
Release date
1 April 2005 (Denmark)
Running time
88 minutes
Language Danish

Kinamand (English: Chinaman and Chinese: 中国先生) is a bitter comedy/drama film made in 2005 in China and Denmark. The film deals with the Chinese immigrant experience in Denmark and marriage of convenience.


A plumber, Keld (Bjarne Henriksen), is bored with his job and his life. Rie (Charlotte Fich), Keld's wife, tries to interest him in a vacation or dance classes. When this last-ditch attempt fails, Rie, tired of Keld's apathy, divorces him and asks for DKK 50,000 (US $8,817). Keld continues in his downward spiral, ignoring his customers and closing his business indefinitely.

Keld sells all of his and Rie's furniture and lives in the empty apartment. When the food in the fridge runs out, Keld starts eating every night at a Chinese restaurant across the street from his apartment. The pipes in the restaurant explode and Keld agrees to fix them in exchange for his meals. After about a month, the owner of the restaurant, Feng (Lin Kun Wu), offers Keld DKK 24,000 (US $4,000) to marry his sister, Ling (Vivian Wu), so that she can get a visa. Keld initially refuses, but when faced with the divorce settlement, Keld goes back to Feng and asks for DKK 50,000. Feng agrees.

After a lavish wedding, Ling moves into Keld's apartment which is set up to fool the immigration service. Ling and Keld learn to live with each other despite the language barrier. Keld freely tells his wife and son that the marriage is purely "pro forma". Keld is concerned about Ling's health but Feng assures him she's perfectly fine. Ling's influence gradually lifts Keld up out of his apathy.

Rie attempts to reconcile with Keld. When that fails, Rie threatens to call the cops on Keld and Ling's marriage unless she gets her money immediately. Keld goes to Feng to get his money, but Feng says the wedding cost too much and he doesn't have the cash.

Angry, Keld storms home and has a fight with Ling, despite neither of them being able to understand the other.

Keld goes over to Feng's restaurant looking for Ling. A fellow patron of Feng's restaurant advises Keld that love must be professed. Feng comes through with the money, so Keld pays Rie and crushes any hope of reconciliation between them because he is in love with Ling. When bringing his lunch, Ling overhears Keld practicing saying "I love you" in Chinese. That evening, washing the dishes as Ling waits for Keld to get up the nerve to say it, Ling collapses. Keld takes her to the hospital but it's too late. Feng confesses he knew Ling had a genetic heart defect, the reason why he had wanted her to live in Denmark. Ling is cremated and Keld flies to China to scatter her ashes in the ancestral river.


Kinamand won the Award of Ecumenical Jury and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

DVD release[edit]

The region 1 DVD release came out on 23 May 2006 and was made available to Netflix customers to rent. The English language subtitles are burned in (can't be taken off with DVD controls), they translate most of the Danish dialogue and the more basic Chinese dialogue.

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