Wuxia genre classic Legend of the Mountain sees Young scholar Ho Yunqing (Shuih Jun) trying to transcribe a Buddhist Sutra held far away by a monk. The Sutra gives immense power to whom ever holds it and many are coveting it. He goes to an isolated monastery deep in the mountains. Hoping to not only transcribe it but also to stop it being stolen. Will he be successful or will something come to hamper his plan?
King Hu already has a stunning back catalogue without this film, his second most famous film coming into our view. Difficulties are abound with classics of international cinema to start with in truth. They already have the baggage of film critical society, audience experience and the sweep of literature weighing them down. Without then adding the baggage of the master Hu and his rich works to the mix. All in all it amounts to a whole lot of noise. That is when a film fan watches this, they already have a voice in their head directing an appropriate response. An expected response. Either contrarian or conspirator. So for me to say anything would be little more than empty air in a whole heap of it. I liked the film and found much more to it. than I did either previously or on its first watch. It could be the additional scenes, however little they seem to add. Director Hu understands the dynamic of desire and this is what makes the film so much more interesting to me now. It makes the film flow wonderfully. Events involving desire are always overplayed. They are also filled with sexual tension. Tension adds rich seams. I like how playful the manner of tens scenes are. They hinge on comedy and the threat of something but always feel the tension without erupting too soon.
I will focus on the extra pieces that Eureka have added for us.
- 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray – I have seen the DVD version about 4 years back and I can say that the new look release is stunning more often then not. Its bright in exterior scenes. It has soft fuzz on the light cascading through windows. It feels like a celluloid dream in places.
- A new video essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns – David Cairns piece has an issue with the voice. It echos and I found that jarring. However the details on Hu and his films run down of flops is interesting, the role he played in the editing of films from the region is compelling but but SORT OUT THAT SOUND.
- A new interview with Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns – Love Tony excessive knowledge of films including the Yin and Yang in which Burgess Meredith and Bridges meet King Hu. He also has profound thoughts about Legend of the Mountain not fitting into the Hu’s filmography troups but fitting into his canon.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Limited Edition O-Card (2000 units) – first print run only
- 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD
- Uncompressed LPCM mono audio
- Newly translated English subtitles
- A new video essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns
- A new interview with Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns
- A collector’s booklet featuring an abundance of archival writing and imagery