This weekend oyceter
and I watched two of my favorite movies, both starring Brigitte Lin, Peking Opera Blues
and The Bride With White Hair
. I hadn't seen either in a while and both stuck in my memory more as a series of great scenes strung together than as coherent narratives. I can't improve on Oyce's review of Peking Opera Blues
, except to say that it has some of the best elaborately choreographed scenes of door-slamming farce I've ever seen, that it's poignant and sweet in addition to being funny and hot, and that I can't believe that I forgot about the all-girl drunken pajama party. Also, Brigitte Lin is hot.
Our copy had some hilariously mangled subtitles, of which my favorite was, "Here's a woman - knock her up!" (Lock her up. Later, someone says, "We have to rescue the men - they're knocked up at the police station!")
It's a genuinely great movie - a classic. It's out of print and has been for some time, but copies are still floating around for sale at what, given its quality, are reasonable prices: Peking Opera Blue (Digitally Remastered Edition) DVD
In The Bride With White Hair
, Brigitte Lin plays a girl who was raised by wolves and then is captured and enslaved by an evil cult. Later, she meets a really hot guy. It doesn't end well. Obviously, I identified a great deal with this storyline.
To give a slightly more detailed plot description, after being raised by wolves, Brigitte Lin is captured by the evil, incestuous male-female conjoined twins leading the evil cult, who force her to become a killing machine. She has no name, and is sad and lonely. Then she meets Leslie Cheung, who is the star pupil of a kung fu school. He romances her and gives her a name, but the male twin has his eye on her, and the female twin is jealous...
(Oyce and I had recently listened to the Johnny Cash song "Thirteen," which we think is about a genetically engineered super-soldier, and which goes, "Got the number thirteen tattooed cross my neck... I was born in the soul of misery/never had me a name./They just gave me this number when I was young.")
This isn't quite the great work of art that Peking Opera Blues
is, but it's very engaging, entertaining, beautiful to look at (shot almost entirely in dreamy, blue-hazed soft-focus), packed with excellent action scenes, funny, bizarre, and sexy. And it has Brigitte Lin and Leslie Cheung as long-haired, melancholy, star-crossed lovers. She kills people with her hair, and there are long, loving shots of his finely muscled back and shoulders.
Oyce and I had both seen this before, but not for a while.
"There's this great sex scene under a waterfall," I reminded her.
"Oh yes! That was good."
We watch the sex scene under the waterfall. Some time passes.
"I didn't remember it being this long," I said. "Not that I'm complaining!"
"Or this detailed," said Oyce.
Some time later, I added, "I can't believe I forgot the underwater cunnilingus."
Much as Peking Opera Blues
has a scene in which Brigitte Lin is whipped and tortured, but in which the emphasis is on her stoicism and bad-assery as much as her vulnerability, this has a scene in which the evil cultists won't let her leave unless she runs a gauntlet... over red-hot coals! (To my immense amusement, a young cultist shyly waves her a fond good-bye right before this starts.) She is beaten! And stoned! And falls into red-hot coals! And is burned, because she's not allowed to use her kung fu! But she triumphantly staggers to her feet... and stalks out to meet her lover, dressed in wedding red.
"Two movies in which Brigitte Lin is bad-ass and gets whipped and is bad-ass some more," I remarked. "It's like a film festival!"
"I'd go to that festival," said Oyce.
"We could call it Flog Fest."
A classic wuxia fantasy and tragic love story, with red-hot coals, evil cults, maniacally cackling conjoined twins, raised by wolves, decapitated head-cuddling, illusion-casting, tragic white hair, and Brigitte Lin and Leslie Cheung having sex under a waterfall. You know you want to see it. The Bride with White Hair