FORMAT: BLU-RAY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Ronny Yu’s slice of Asian phantasmagoria gets a fine Blu-ray release courtesy of Eureka. The film, from 1993, holds up incredibly well; practical effects, dramatic lighting and a host of fantastic actors are enhanced by a great transfer and a plethora of special features (an archival ‘making of feature’ reminds you of the leap in digital quality).
Based on the wuxia novel Baifa Monü Zhuan, the film stars the late, great Leslie Cheung as Zhuo Yihang, an undisciplined member of the Wudang clan (the martial art sect not a rap group) who falls in love with mighty heroine Lian Nichang (Brigitte Lin), who was raised by wolves and then taken in by an evil cult. She is fantastic, never has anyone wielded a whip so skilfully, slicing people’s heads and bodies in half with ease. Naturally, Zhuo Yihang is smitten, they fall in love and vow to leave their respective sects for each other, but, of course, fate has other ideas. As is custom with films of this era, such as The Chinese Ghost Story Trilogy, the screen is often permeated with fog, bright blue lights and flowing costumes that create an ethereal look without the use of CGI.
The Bride with White Hair towers above the crowded wuxia genre with a concise run time, kinetic action, sensual love story and majestic moments of madness. To round the package off, we get two audio commentaries, one with Asian film expert Frank Djeng and one with Ronnie Yu, as well as interviews with the screenwriter, actor Joe Tay and Ronnie himself. It is great to see a classic film receive such loving treatment, something only physical media can provide.