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Raining in the Mountain (1979)

Kong shan ling yu (original title)
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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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
Ming-Choi Ng ...
(as Ming-Tsai Wu)
Lin Tung
Kuang Yu Wang
Chia-Hsiang Wu


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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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

A sorely-neglected little gem.
18 May 2009 | by (Denver, CO) – See all my reviews

Raining on the Mountain is a sorely neglected little gem of a Chinese flick. I would say "kung fu flick", but that's almost wholly untrue. There are several fight scenes (most notably near the climax), but the film seems much more interested in the fluidity and the composition of these scenes than the actual viscera of the bloody mouths and body blows. There's a sort of extravagant economy of motion here: everything is done for the effect, but nothing feels gratuitous or superfluous; it's simply done so well that you breeze through without giving it a thought. A good portion of this film consists of people running, ducking and hiding behind things, but Hu, being behind the pen, behind the camera and apparently behind the editing equipment as well, presents the entire film like a dance, no matter what they're doing.

The plot concerns a number of characters scheming towards two major aims inside a Buddhist monastery: an esquire and a general both looking to obtain a priceless handwritten scroll from their library, using various means (including a faux-concubine and her bandana-clad partner-in-crime) to obtain it. Additionally, the abbot of the monastery is looking for a successor, and several of the monks are attempting to get a good word for their names through less than legitimate means: namely, getting the esquire or the general to put in a good word by assisting them in getting the scroll. The other major plot point involves a former thief (convicted, but claims falsely accused) being hounded by the lieutenant that put him behind bars, and the two of them getting into various scraps, and coming off like wounded children.

The film I was more reminded of (at least in a superficial way) was Miyazaki's The 47 Ronin. Both films have action, but aren't overly concerned with the action so much as with how the action is executed. Neither film is particularly substantial plotwise, but both exert special attention to the minutiae of politicking, and their power comes with how that plot is carried out. Just as Raining on the Mountain is mostly people dodging enough and slinking away, The 47 Ronin is a film that consists mostly of people running into rooms and informing the occupants of exciting things happening outside, and yet, both are captivating because of how they present their wares. While it occasionally grinds to a bit of a halt when it focuses on the abbot appointing, Raining on the Mountain is an evocative, sensual, breathtaking and above all enjoyable film, and with a surprisingly light, fun storyline, a memorable cast of characters, and a thrilling conclusion, it's a film I'd gladly recommend to anybody that can obtain it.

{Grade: 8.5/10 (B+) / #10 (of 24) of 1979}

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