October 16th, 7:00PM in Garland 104 (2441 E. Hartford)
Few films of any Chinese cinema have left impressions felt as deeply as The Lover Eterne. It could be viewed as a culmination of the Huangmei Opera genre that had been growing in popularity for almost a decade, made by the director that given it its modern cinematic form. In 1955 a Mainland Chinese Huangmei Opera film who’s English title is The Heavenly Match became popular in Hong Kong and surrounding regions. It was a typical Opera adaption for its time, in many ways purely a filmed stage performance with a limited cinematography. Director Li detected what he thought was an opportunity and convinced the Shaw Brothers studio head Run Run Shaw to give him a relatively large budget to produce a Huangmei Opera film in color, still a rarity at the time. This film was Diau Charn (1958) based upon the character from the Romance of Three Kingdoms. In it he altered the traditional form of regional Huangmei Opera and made it more cinematic and in other senses modernized it. It became a huge critical and financial success and suddenly everyone was jumping onboard to make Huangmei Opera films.