Thursday, March 22, 2018

King Hu's Legend of the Mountain (山中传奇) in Pittsburgh one more day, March 25.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the Silk Screen Asian Arts & Cultural Organization are showing a different classic Asian film each month, with King Hu's 1979 movie Legend of the Mountain (山中传奇) set to play once more in March. A February 1 New York Times review provides an introduction:
A magical mystery marathon, King Hu’s “Legend of the Mountain” takes place (maybe, as the narrator waggishly says) in the 11th century during the Song dynasty. It tells of a cheerful, underemployed scholar, Ho Yunqing (Shih Chun), who makes a meager living as a copyist. Soon after the movie opens, he is entrusted to copy a Buddhist sutra (a dialogue or sermon) that can liberate souls stuck in limbo. Ho isn’t a believer, but he needs the money and so enthusiastically heads out on a seemingly simple mission, one that eventually leads to an isolated outpost where curious and curiouser things occur.

Filled with lovely natural landscapes that have been meticulously framed and photographed, “Legend of the Mountain” is often a visual ravishment. (It was shot in the South Korean countryside.) There’s a mesmerizing appeal to many of its panoramas, with their variegated colors, dense vegetation and drifting, swirling white mist. And while King Hu certainly likes to move the camera — it sweeps, swoops and sometime breaks into a near-run — he also likes to linger on images as if encouraging you to admire their compositional harmony. You can get lost in these pictorial reveries as you trace the rays of light piercing the trees, brightening the dark waters and the reality-softening haze.
The March 25 showing starts at 6:00 pm at the Regent Square Theater (map), and tickets are only available for purchase at the door.