A Wronged Daughter-in-law
Dir/ Scr: Chen Huanwen (Chan Wun-man)
Cast: Zeng Shanfeng, Cheung Ying-yin, Chen Chuhui, Cheung Long-wah,
1960 / B&W / D Beta / Chaozhou-dialect / 116min
Based on a Ming-era chuanqi play, the film rendition of this major Chaozhou opera piece is a return to the aesthetics of traditional theatre. Jiang Shi (Cheung Yingyin) is away from home making a living. His mother, taken in by her neighbour’s slanders, is doubtful about the fidelity of Third Madam Pang, her daughter-in-law. Tension escalates due to some misunderstanding and the matriarch demands that Pang be divorced. Jiang is too meek to defy the elder. While lodging in a monastery, Pang gathers firewood in the mountains for the carp she wants to cook, all because her in-law loves it. There she chances on Jiang, to whom she explains how she is wronged. As opposed to the climax which exalts filial piety and concludes with the couple's separation, the story ends with reconciliation between the two in-laws and family reunion. This offers a glimpse of how literary classics advocate unconventional values.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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