The Romantic Monk
Dir: Chun Kim Scrs: Lee Yuen-man, Poon Cheuk
Orig Story: Cao Xueqin
Set Design: Chan Ki-yui Art Direction: Lee Kwun-ho
Cast: Ho Fei-fan, Cheng Bik-ying, Ying Lai-lei
1956 / B&W / D Beta / Cantonese / 117min
The only opera film in the active, brilliant but short-lived career of Chun Kim (he committed suicide at the age of 43), The Romantic Monk is remarkable for its meticulous mise-en-scene. The story is once again taken from the literary classic, Dream of the Red Chamber, but concentrates on the latter part of the plot in which Jia Baoyu, the young and impossibly romantic hero, finally realizes, after the death of the enamored Lin Daiyu, that the predestined attachments of human heart are all mere illusions, obstacles blocking the spiritual path to peace and joy. This inner change causes him to leave all worldly affairs and become a monk. Hence, the title of the film. Aided by Suen Lun’s glorious cinematography, Chan Ki-yui’s design of the lavish Ning Mansion and its subsequent collapse contains more details than most opera films and impresses.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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