7.5/10
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3 user 2 critic

Shan shui qing (1988)

A short film about a young girl who cares for a wise old scholar in exchange for guqin lessons.

Director:

Wei Te

Writer:

Shuchen Wang
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A short film about a young girl who cares for a wise old scholar in exchange for guqin lessons.

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Details

Country:

China

Language:

None

Release Date:

1988 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

Feeling from Mountain and Water See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

A Timeless Masterpiece
4 January 2016 | by petermicicSee all my reviews

I have watched 'Shanshuiqing' many times since it was first released in 1988 and I watched it again today, and it is indeed a masterpiece. It is a work that speaks to me on so many levels, a work that captures both the extraordinary beauty of the visual and the aural, a work that engages the heart and soul.

The title can be translated as 'A Deep Attachment for Mountains and Rivers,' 'A Love for Chinese Landscapes,' or 'An Affection for Mountains and Water.' We could also translate it as: 'A Deep Affection For What Can Be Discovered in Mountains and Water.' Such a title conjures up a vision of what we can discover when we 'read' a scroll landscape painting: a mountain hidden in the mist, a recluse disappearing into the clouds, an old man playing the seven-stringed qin zither or a little boat carrying a hermit to a riverbank through a narrow gorge.

This short animation brilliantly melds the brush, ink and paper of landscape painting with music. There are the natural soundscapes of water, wind and rain, now and then the swoop of a bird, a harsh wind stirs, the wind dies down, all is still again. The boy blows a reed calling out into an infinite space, into a great vastness. When I heard the first three pitches of the reed a whole expanse of space began to open up within me.

No words are exchanged between the qin master and the boy. Within the silences a whole new world is revealed, the silence that announces the encounter of a qin master who falls ill and a boy from a nearby fishing village who looks after him, the silence that the qin master and the boy are predestined to meet, succinctly expressed in a Chinese saying: 'Though born a thousand li apart, souls which are one shall meet,' the silence of parting, and the silence when you remember those you met or loved.

We are witness to a silence that speaks of a shared affinity, of deep affection. If we expressed it in words, its beauty would be gone. It is the same silence that permeates the entire canvas of this work: the trees, the birds, the fish, the mountains, the sky, the qin master and the boy.

The greatness of this work lies in the silences. Through silence alone we discover all kinds of hidden treasures among the mountains and rivers, and as these treasures and gifts are revealed to us, an affection, a love, a longing grows.


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