Thunderstorm (Reference Film)
Dir/Scr: Zhu Shilin Orig Story: Cao Yu
Prod Co.: Feng Huang
Cast: Gao Yuan, Shek Hwei, Bao Fong, Gong Qiuxia, Jiang Han, Qiu Ping
1961 / B&W / D Beta / Mandarin / 98min
Adapted from the well-known Cao Yu play of the same name, Zhu Shilin’s Thunderstorm pretty much follows the classical three-act structure of its source material in building up its intense, if not contrived, drama and emotional outburst. It is Zhu’s stately mise-en-sc ne and cautious camera movement that save a story evolving around a feudal family and the convoluted relationships among members of its two generations, and involving such sensational elements as rape, incest, jealousy, class struggles and conspiracies, from being overtly melodramatic and soapy. It has often been argued that this Mandarinspeaking version is more sophisticated and superior than the Cantonese version directed by Ng Wui and written by Cheng Kang. By screening the two versions backto- back, this retrospective may perhaps provide the best opportunity for interested audience to conduct a detailed and scrupulous comparison and find a verdict.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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