The True Story of Ah Q

The True Story of Ah Q

Dir: Cen Fan
Orig Story: Lu Xun
Scr: Chen Baichen
Prod Co: Shanghai Film Studio
Cast: Yan Shunkai, Li Wei, Jin Yikang, Wang Suya, Shi Ling
1981 | Colour | DCP | Putonghua | 114min

The True Story of Ah Q, the masterpiece of revered novelist Lu Xun, exposes how the bad qualities of people could become the obstacle of social progress in the early 20th century. This 1981 adaptation was made as a centennial commemoration of Lu Xun. The very first scene is a soliloquy of the author himself on his worries of writing the novel, whose ideas are extracted from the preface of the original novel. Later, exact wordings from the original text are also used in the voiceover in several scenes, all to ease down the complexity of the otherwise intricate plot. One example is to strike a balance between the dark humour as well as sarcasm employed in the first chapter and the author's underlying gravitas in reproaching the bad qualities of people.

With the enormous emotions Lu Xun had poured into the novel, it is still hard for the film to completely delineate his thoughts. In an attempt to ameliorate the plot, the screenwriter Chen Baichen has in fact added elements from other novels by Lu Xun, such as Xian Heng Hotel and Mrs Xia. Chen also portrays the connection between the supporting characters who are relevant to Ah Q's death sentence to a fuller extent in order that the audience can have a clearer picture of the dénouement.

*This is a colour film

Date Time Venue
20/11/2021 (Sat) 4:30pm Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive

The contents of the programme do not represent the views of the presenter. The presenter reserves the right to change the programme should unavoidable circumstances make it necessary.