Romance at the West Chamber
Dir: Ng Wui
Orig Story: Wang Shifu
Co-starring: Cheung Wood-yau, Mui Yee, Ma Siu-ying
1956 / B&W / D Beta / Cantonese / 121min
Romance of the West Chamber is a key work in the development of opera films, also a rare one that features Hung Sin Nui. Union Film’s first Cantonese opera film is based on the hugely popular drama of the same title by Yuan dynasty playwright Wang Shifu. This adaptation is marked by its highly cinematic mise-en-scene, staging scenes with naturalistic settings, animated by fluid camera movements and editing that highlights the story-telling capacities of framing. Actors tone down the more stylized moves, resulting in graceful “opera-light” motions that enrich the film experience. Although the film does not feature Hung in her usual role as huadan (female lead), it is still a precious record of her craft before she left Hong Kong.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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