Saturday, January 21, 2012

Peking Opera Blues (1986) Celebrating Chinese New Year!

For the next 9 days, we at Unseen Films are going to celebrate Chinese New Year by shining a spotlight on some films that we feel should be given the red carpet - lunar new year treatment! Lookout for some wild & epic wuxia pieces including the latest from Jet Li and a period piece from Taiwan filmed with puppets! It will blow your mind-guaranteed! Some other can’t misses include a Tsui Hark classic, a Stephen Chow comedy, a Wong Kar Wai parody, an Andy Lau romance, a beautiful & romantic work of art by Zhang Yimou, & some more surprises from the overlord wizard of Unseen Films! Thanks to DB for allowing me to maestro this movie theme and by all means, tell us what some of your favorite movies are to celebrate 2012: the Year of the Dragon! The chinese lunar new year actually starts on January 23rd -- but we figured we’d start a few days earlier to get you all punch drunk before the dragon whips its tail! Enjoy!
-mr c

One of the best films from director Tsui Hark, and one of my favorite films that he's directed.

For me Tsui Hark has always been a better producer than a director. Sure he's directed some wonderful films (Butterfly Murders, Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, All About Women) and when he's on he's one of the best directors out there but he's also directed some real stinkers (You can't seriously tell me that Seven Swords isn't one of the dullest most long winded films around)

With Peking Opera Blues Hark manages to make a film that really works on it's own terms even when those terms are utter nonsense.

The film concerns three women, a box of jewels, a warlord and a theater where Peking Opera is performed by men. It is by turns a grand adventure, farce and the story concerning the empowerment of women.

The plot, very roughly explained, has a General needing money to stay in power. His mistress is actually working with the revolutionaries and is conspiring to steal his money. When a box of jewels goes missing, it ends up in a theater where Peking Opera is performed. The owner's daughter wishes to perform but law forbids it. As everyone tries to find out where the jewels are people are also forced to try and work out who is really a man and who is a woman.

Its grand farce expertly done.

I'm not going to lie and say that it all makes sense, it doesn't. The point of the film is to make you smile and feel good and that's something this film manges to in spades. Every time I watch this film I smile from ear to ear from start to finish. Not only that I'm constantly say "oh Wow!!" out loud. Never mind that I've seen this film at least a dozen or so times over the years, I still am impressed by the action.

I know several women who love this film. They love that this film has three kick ass women in the lead. They are woman who manage to both fight better than most of the men on screen, but also manage to have a deeply feminine side. The women who love the film love that it allows the heroines to have it both ways. They don't need to choose one way or another, indeed they only seem to come out on top when they manage to be both things.

Not to put too fine a point on it this is one of the best films to come out of China in the 1980's and it's probably one of the top wu xia films ever made.

If you love action films, hell if you love movies you really need to see this film. It's some of the best work by one of the best directors working today.

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