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紅樓夢醒 Dream of the Red Chamber
邱剛健 CHIU Kang-chien ｜新加坡 Singapore ｜ 1977｜Video｜ Colour ｜ 97min
Courtesy of Mr. TAN Kok-kiong With support from Asian Film Archive
CHIU, who wrote and directed the film, relocated the setting of the classical novel Dream of the Red Chamber to contemporary Singapore, which gives the film a fashionable appearance. The JIA family is a rich clan in Singapore. Taiwanese girl LIN Dai-yu (SU Sin-sin) comes to visit the JIA family and meets the idle preppy JIA Bao-yu (GAO Fong). Meanwhile, SYUE Bao-chai (YAN Jing-ling) from the States joins them and they fall into a love triangle. However, the JIA family is straitened and holds their wishes on winning racing horses to gain fortune. The boss in the JIA family arranges the marriage for JIA and SYUE to obtain dowries from the SYUE family. LIN decides to return to Taiwan on their wedding day. What will JIA do between these two girls?
From 1966 to 1977, there was a trend in making film adaptations of Dream of the Red Chamber. CHIU’s work is a peculiar one among all of these versions. CHIU involved popular film elements in that period. Thus, we can see acts of romance, martial arts, comedic plots, and even erotic scenes in it. CHIU developed his bold cinematic ideas with ironic dialogues and a seemingly cynical attitude. Shifted between characters and the empty mansion, he uses jump cuts and mise-en-scene in his shots to demonstrate the void pervasive in the big clan. CHIU, designated as the screenwriter at first, took the directing job after the original director quit the project. Dream of the Red Chamber is his debut feature film, where he worked with a bunch of new actors. The film was only released in Singapore for a short time.
※Screening Notice: Partial sharp audio, noise, image deformation and color deviation may occur as this film is an unrestored rare collection.