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Raining in the Mountain (1979)
"Kong shan ling yu" (original title)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 370 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 9 critic

An esquire and a General eyes a priceless handwritten scroll by Tripitaka, held in a Temple library. The Abbot of the Temple selects his successor.

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Title: Raining in the Mountain (1979)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Feng Hsu
Yueh Sun
Chun Shih
Feng Tien
Hui Lou Chen
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paul Chun ...
Hui Ssu
Su Han
Wen Tai Li
Lin Tung
Kuang Yu Wang
Chia-Hsiang Wu
Ming-Tsai Wu
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Storyline

An esquire brings a female thief and his bailiff to search out a priceless handwritten scroll by Tripitaka, in a temple at the mountains. Meanwhile, a General and his lieutenant arrives for the same reason. Both of them are invited to help advise the ailing Abbot of his successor. The esquire and the General supports a different senior disciple. Written by Anonymous

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Action | Drama

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Release Date:

11 July 1979 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Raining in the Mountain  »

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2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Raining in the Mountain
24 August 2010 | by See all my reviews

Sometime during the Ming Dynasty in China, the elderly abbot of a remote Buddhist monastery is aware of his impending death and trying to decide which one of his monk disciples would be the most suitable to become his successor. To help him decide, the abbot has invited three guests to the monastery: a wealthy merchant Wen (Yueh Sun), a powerful General Wang (Feng Tien) and a wise scholar Wu Wai (Chia-hsiang Wu). The first two have more on their minds though, as both are after a priceless scroll of wisdom that is hidden in the monastery's library. Wen is assisted by two master thieves, the female White Fox (Feng Hsu) and a quiet man called Gold Lock (Ming-tsai Wu), while Wang has the local police chief Chang Cheng as his sidekick. The monks of the monastery also have their own ideas regarding the abbot's decision, and many schemes and clashes follow when everybody pursuits their own personal goals.

Director King Hu's calm, beautiful style becomes evident immediately during the first scenes of the film where Wen and his assistants are walking towards the monastery; the gorgeous scenery, grandiose music and flowing, long costumes all set the mood for the whole story. The large monastery itself looks wonderful too and provides an excellent backdrop for the plot that is about to start. Among the best scenes is White Fox and Gold Lock's long run through the yards and hallways to the library, all the while avoiding the monks by quickly jumping out of sight and hiding in whatever place is available when anybody passes them. As all this is presented with little dialogue and only accompanied by highly atmospheric percussion and zither-driven music, the whole sequence ranks among the most suspenseful I've seen in a long time.

Even though the film may have been advertised as a martial arts tale, the fighting is rather sparse (the first clash only occurs 50 minutes into the story and the action properly gets going only at the very end). The stylized ending battles in the autumny forest are excellent though and more than enough to satisfy any wuxia fan. Besides the fights and the sneaking sequences, the huge group scenes with hundreds of monks at the front yard look marvelous too. The film's dynamic direction, camera work, mise-en-scène and cinematography are so consistently jaw-dropping that it is really difficult to find anything to criticize in the film; everything is in perfect balance. The comedic scheming of Wen and Wang, the complaints of the disgruntled monks, the wire-work during the fights, the bright colours everywhere... just magnificent.

The underlying theme of Raining in the Mountain is the importance of giving up any feelings of greed in the spirit of Buddhism. Wen and Wang's obsession about the supposedly priceless scroll doesn't help them to achieve happiness, while the abbot repeatedly mentions that the scroll's power lies in its written message, not in the object itself. With so many thoroughly enjoyable details in one movie, the two hours of its runtime practically fly by when watching the film. In brief, Raining in the Mountain is heartily recommended to anyone with even a faintest interest in Asian cinema.


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