Monday, 4 June 2007

The Story of Sue San (1964)

Betty Loh Ti and Zhao LeiAs this is the early 1960s, nobody, not even King Hu could escape from making Huangmei Opera for SB. To be fair, this is his 2nd film, and the 1st 4 films he made (are all SB productions) were all in different genres as he still tried to find out what suited him best, I imagine. And probably he hadn't the power or the confidence to decide what kind of films he wanted to make, anyway.

But after his 4th feature, his seminal work Come drink with Me, all his subsequent works were costume/period pieces, with wuxia being the genre he is best remembered for, Come Drink With Me (1966), Dragon Inn (1967), A Touch Of Zen (1971).

Actually, both The Love Eterne (1964) and this film were directed by Li Han-Hsiang (the pioneer of Huangmeixi) with King Hu worked as deputy director (you could say Li was King's mentor). At the end, The Love Eterne (1964) was credited to Li while this film was credited to King.

Also King had an keen interest in Chinese opera, so this Huangmei opera shouldn't come as a surprise. Indeed many of his later wuxia has roots in Chinese opera. The Drunken Beggar or Minstrel story  in Come Drink with Me sourced from his childhood opera that he remembered. And in many sword fighting scene, Beijing opera musics that plays during their fight scenes are usually heard in King Hu's movies.

This movie has an atypical ending for Chinese movies at this period, especially Huangmeixi - an unbelievable happy ending !!!

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