In another month, the old mansion will be torn down. He awakes often, only to say farewell to the house. The owner, Mr. Jiang, would repeatedly say that he hates this house; this house that has held his entire life hostage. A female correspondent from Beijing has by coincidence moved into this house, only to discover its impenetrable mysteries. As she attempts to unravel its secrets she was herself inadvertently pulled into a strange melodrama. She sadly discovers herself as a lonely outsider. Moreover, what pushes her to the point of despair is that history has subtly changed many things. It has deepened the old mansion's sense of mystery and made the taciturn Mr. Jiang infatuated with memories.
The old mansion bears witness to the decadence of 1930's Shanghai, its liberation after the civil war, and the storms of the Cultural Revolution, to the vast changes occurring in modern day Shanghai. The house is no longer a mere inanimate object, but a living blend of history, family, and emotions that has dumped its burden on Mr. Jiang to bear alone in a cycle that has lasted sixty years. The reporter vaguely senses that Mr. Jiang's emotional cyclone stems from the house. He is unmarried because he detests his family; he has no friends because he venerates suspicion; he cannot change his custom of western dinning, and writing English letters because he longs for the bygone days. Yet, what does all this have to do with the mansion? This time she daringly plunges into the inner recesses of the old man.
The magnolia tree is ready to blossom as the sun cants down on Mr. Jiang's forlorn shadow. Outside, the wrecking ball wreaks a path of destruction leveling city block after city block, as people look on passively from skyscrapers. Inside, the record player continues to play the past while uncle Jiang watch over the mansion's last days. Sixty years of resolute steadfastness is finally breached. The night before the relocation, Mr. Jiang sings his final revelry.
A rugged individual, a rugged history, a rugged life. A Chinese story.