Long Shong Pictures, Performance Workshop Films. PROD: Ding Nai-chu. DIR: Stan Lai. SCR: Stan Lai, based on his play. CINE: Christopher Doyle. EDIT: Chen Po-wen. CAST: Brigitte Lin, Li Wei-hui, Gu Bao-ming, Chin Shih-chieh, Ku Pao-ming.
Taiwan's Stan Lai is among the world's most important theater directors. His most famous work, “Secret Love for the Peach Blossom Spring,” upended just about every convention of Chinese theater when it premiered in 1986, mere months before martial law was lifted; six years later, he adapted the play into a film which itself radically challenged the principles of filmed opera, featuring remarkable innovations in staging, the use of song and dialogue, and the convention of the "fourth wall." Two theater companies unwillingly share the same theater on the same night, one rehearsing an epic melodrama of star-crossed love set against the turmoil of 1949 Shanghai, the other a madcap comedy. The stories of the two plays soon begin to overlap, revealing a shared concern with how the Taiwanese, traumatized by war and political terror, might retain a respect for the past without succumbing to its nightmares. Lai attracted exceptional collaborators to the project: legendary cinematographer Christopher Doyle (Du Ke Feng), who shoots the film with an uncharacteristic restraint that gracefully extracts the work from the proscenium; and the magnificent Brigitte Lin, Taiwan's most famous actress, herself a living metatext for Taiwan's rebirth and re-engagement with the world. "A Brechtian-infused exploration of nationhood, storytelling, and the art of theater" (Film Society of Lincoln Center).
HDCam, color, in Mandarin with English subtitles, 107 min.
UCLA Film & Television Archive
Billy Wilder Theater
Courtyard Level, Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard (at the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood Boulevards)
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tickets: $10 online. $9 general admission, $8 for non-UCLA students, seniors and UCLA Alumni Association members (ID required) if purchased at the box office only. Free admission for UCLA students (current ID required); free tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis at the box office until 15 minutes before showtime, or the rush line afterwards. Online tickets available at ; click on the individual program.
Parking: Museum parking lot; enter from Westwood Blvd, just north of Wilshire. $3 flat rate after 6:00 pm on Mondays-Fridays and all day on weekends.
UCLA Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024