Director – Ching Siu Tung – 1987 – Hong Kong – Cert. 15 – 95m
Some of the most seminal offerings of the commercial Hong Kong cinema are the product of creative wizard Tsui Hark. The producer who first gave John Woo his niche as bullet strewn action director on A Better Tomorrow (1986) also ensured director Ching Sui Tung’s place in fantasy film’s Hall of Fame with this stunning little offering.
The Hong Kong supernatural, fantasy genre is itself defined almost single-handedly by Tsui’s groundbreaking epic Zu: Warriors From the Magic Mountain (1983). CGS both typifies the genre and proves one of its finest examples. CGS spawned two sequels for what Tsui describes as “sentimental reasons – when the ghost died at the end, we want her to come back pretty badly.” He admits the sequels weren’t as good, though.
CGS opens in a downpour as a rain sodden Leslie Cheung (known to Western audiences from such diverse fare as A Better Tomorrow and art house hit Farewell My Concubine, Chen Kaige, 1993) watches a grim, head lopping argument between two bandits as he does his cowardly best to look inconspicuous. His work as a debt gatherer suffers something of a setback as he discovers the ink in his books has run with the damp, so once he arrives in the nearby town he’s unable to collect the payments he’d expected.… Read the rest