Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Capsule Review: Peking Opera Blues (1986)

It's a little hard to get across how exhilarating and different Tsui Hark's Peking Opera Blues seemed to 80s audiences not used to the kinetic chaos of Hong Kong films. Filled with colorful, impeccably orchestrated scenes, the film packs action, romance, politics and much more into a rollicking package. Taking place in 1913, the movie follows three females who are each following their own agendas: Tsao Wan (Brigitte Lin) is the educated daughter of the powerful General Cao who is working with a group of rebels to help end the monarchy. Sheung Hung (Cherie Chung) is a thief obsessed with finding a box of stolen jewels, and Pat Neil (Sally Yeh) is desperate to break into acting in the Peking Opera despite it not allowing women. Truly a film that has something for everyone, Hark dissects gender roles while juggling a plot that jumps around rapidly in terms of pacing and tone while still managing to hold together beautifully.

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