Hua Mu-Lan (1964)

Aka (in its English translation) Lady General Hua Mu-Lan.

I must admit to my ignorance: till a couple of months back, I had only heard of Mu-Lan (or Mulan). I’d no idea who Mu-Lan was, whether her character was fictitious or not—or, well, anything. Then a relative came visiting and brought my little daughter a gift: a soft doll, one of the Disney Princesses: Mulan. Ah, East Asian, I realized (yes, so ignorant). But that piqued my interest; at least watch the Disney animation film, if nothing else, I decided. So I watched it—then discovered (and watched) the 2009 Chinese film, Mulan: Rise of a Warrior. And then, stepping back into one of my favourite periods of cinema history, watched this Chinese opera version of the legend of Mulan.

Ivy Ling Po as Hua Mu-Lan

Continue reading

Xiao Cheng Zhi Chun (1948)

Or, in English, Spring in a Small Town.

In the years this blog has been in existence, I’ve watched and reviewed films in several foreign languages—but never Chinese. Then, some time back, I came across this film, and discovered that in 2005, it was named—by the Hong Kong Film Awards Association—the best Chinese film ever made. That (coupled with the fact that Xiao Cheng Zhi Chun is available in the public domain) made me eager to watch it.

Wei Wei and Wei Li in Xiao Cheng Zhi Chun

Continue reading