The Arch

Now noted as one of the early precursors of the Hong Kong New Wave, this intriguing experimental melodrama-directed by Hong Kong filmmaker Cecile Tang, shot by Satyajit's Ray's regular cinematographer Subrata Mitra, and edited by none other than the Bay Area's Les Blank-was one of the first Chinese-language films to achieve international acclaim, praised by such unlikely sources as Henry Miller (“medicine for the West”), Anaïs Nin (“a film of poetic beauty”), and Fritz Lang (“one of the most charming films I have ever seen”). In seventeenth-century Ming Dynasty China, a pious young widow must weigh her own desires for a visiting soldier (Roy Chiao, a King Hu regular) against not only the expectations and traditions of her village, but also the hopes of her own daughter. Sadly forgotten after its successful release in 1969, The Arch was one of the rediscoveries of TIFF Cinematheque's recent series of Chinese cinema classics.

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