Butterfly and Red Pear Blossom (Restored Version)

Butterfly and Red Pear Blossom (Restored Version)

Dir: Lee Tit
Orig Story: Zhang Shouqing
Scr/Librettist: Tong Tik-sang
Prod Co: Hawks
Cast: Yam Kim-fai, Pak Suet-sin, Lan Chi Pak, Leung Sing-por, Cheung Sing-fei
1959 | B&W | DCP | Cantonese | Chi & Eng Subtitles | 142min

This film was discovered locally in 1998.

The lab that processed Butterfly and Red Pear Blossom, upon its imminent closing, contacted the film's director Lee Tit. The Archive had established a cherished relationship with the acclaimed director, who graciously deposited the prints of the film in the Archive. This cinematic masterpiece was in high demand and had suffered extensive damages in the repeated screenings, with key scenes missing in some of the prints. In 2019, the Archive restored the Cantonese-opera classic, putting together elements from prints collected from different sources, bridging the gaps left by time and reinstating the film's artistic glory.

The film was originally made during the golden era of Cantonese opera crossing over with Hong Kong film, and its superior artistic standard is undeniable. The screenplay is adapted from a zaju opera by Zhang Shouqing. The story is about a courtesan (Pak Suet-sin) and a scholar (Yam Kim-fai) who fall in love while exchanging poems. Their romance is thwarted by an official (Lan Chi Pak). In spite of the assistance by a good friend (Leung Sing-por), under the masterful pen of playwright Tong Tik-sang, the two love-birds don't meet until the final scene. Lee retains his normal subtle style, exquisitely combining the best of the two genres—Cantonese opera and film with delicate camera movements and editing that matches the opera music. Meanwhile, the elegant movements and opera stylings of the incredibly popular combination of Yam and Pak fully express the rich multiple layers of the art of the silver screen.

Date Time Venue
17/7/2021 (Sat) 6:00pm Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive

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