A Good Couple

China|1948|B&W|103 min|DCP|Mandarin|Chi subtitle
China Film Archive Collection
30.05.2020 (Sat) 16:30 BC

*Post-screening talk by Kiki Fung (In Cantonese)
Kiki Fung is the Programmer at Hong Kong International Film Festival, former Head Programmer for Brisbane International Film Festival and Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival.

Dir & Scr: Hong Mo
Cinematographer: Xu Qi
Cast: Shen Min, Feng Zhe, Shen Hao

The name of this film cannot be any more plain, yet it is actually an exhilarating romantic comedy. A beautiful and talented accountant has not adapted well to the domestic life after marriage. Both she and her husband feel that married life is nowhere near as interesting as being single. Their fights lead her to move to a women’s dormitory. Then when her husband tries to mend fences with her, their marriage enters a state of wonder. Straightforward romance in a concise story finds great balance between tender and funny moments. The Shanghai middle-class lifestyle in the film combines both Chinese and Western influences—people work and enjoy a metropolitan environment while also speaking freely on their opinions on marriage without any constraints. Men and women maintain social relationships outside of their marriage. The accountant prioritises romance above all while forming her own unique concept of marriage based on personal experiences. All these elements sound very much ahead of its time, but are they really that improbable? Sadly, Chinese Cinema eventually lost this audacious and thought-provoking spirit. But this film measures up to the standards of the Eileen Chang-scripted Long Live the Missus! (1947).

Hong Mo (1913-2014)
Hong Mo became a famous theatre writer-director during the war and started to write for films in the postwar era, including Li Pingqian’s Hang on to Your Relatives (1947) and Fan Peilin’s Orioles Banished from the Flowers (1948). Wenhua Film Company commissioned him to write and direct A Good Couple, which encompassed genres like satire and contemporary Hollywood Cinema.