The Story Of Xinghua

The second feature (1994) of Sixth Generation mainland Chinese director Yin Lia project originated by screenwriter Shi Lingis a melodrama set in a village that’s next to the Great Wall in northern China: a wealthy and unscrupulous grocer purchases a wife hoping to have an heir and digs obsessively for a legendary treasure supposedly buried beneath one of the Great Wall’s watchtowers. The cast, headed by Jiang Wenli (the prostitute mother in Farewell My Concubine who severs her son’s finger to get him into opera school), is effective, and the ‘Scope cinematography is consistently attractive, but I found the film fairly routine, both as narrative and as drama. (JR)

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