Madam Wan (Reference Film)
Dir: Chu Kea
Orig Story: Shen Fu Scr: Lo Yu-kei
Prod: Hui Lap-tsai
Prod Co.: Lap Tat
Cast: Yam Kim-fai, Pak Suet-sin, Josephine Siao Fong-fong, Poon Yat On, Lan Chi Pak, So Siu-tong
1960 / B&W / D Beta / Cantonese / 116min
This version of the literary classic, Shen Fu’s Six Chapters of a Floating Life , stars Cantonese opera superstars Yam Kimfai and Pak Suet-sin. As such, it’s only natural that the romantic novel is adapted into an opera-styled costume musical. Furthermore, the librettist is none other than the acclaimed Tong Tik-sang who excels in refined and highly poetic lyrics. The first part of Lo Yu-kei’s screenplay is almost identical to Cheng Kang’s version, but the second half tends to lean more towards sentimentalism and melodrama. The many misfortunes bestowed on the couple accentuate into a tear-jerking climax, where the plot suddenly turns a different route and everything resolves itself into a happy ending. Chu Kei directs with deft and simplicity, eliciting impressive performance not only from the two stars,
but also from such young actors as Josephine Siao Fong-fong and Petrina Fung Bo-bo. It’ll be of great interest to compare the two versions with each other and with the novel itself.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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