China Wife

Hong Kong|1957|B&W|108 min|DCP|Cantonese|Chi & Eng subtitles
The films of the ‘Nanyang Trilogy’ were restored by the Asian Film Archive and conducted by Imagica South East Asia and IMAGICA Corp. in 2017, using the sole surviving 35mm print of Moon Over Malaya and 16mm prints of all three films loaned from the Hong Kong Film Archive. Moon Over Malaya was restored in 4K and the other two in 2K. The raw and restored digital scans, a new 35mm picture and sound negative, and a new positive print of the restored version of each film have been produced and are preserved by the Asian Film Archive.
31.05.2020 (Sun) 12:00 BC

Dir: Chan Man
Scr & AD: Chor Yuen
Cinematographer: Chan Kon
Cast: Keung Chung-ping, Nam Hung, Patsy Kar Ling, Patrick Tse Yin

Director Chan Man’s second film in the trilogy is the most moving melodrama, and it was hugely popular back in the day. In order to find a living, Ho Ah-gau moves from Macau to Southeast Asia, where he is going to marry into a wealthy family after conning a rich girl to fall for him. Back home, his mother succumbs to the pressure from loan sharks. His wife and offspring travel to Southeast Asia to find him, only to be sold by the cold-hearted Ho. The original stage play, Quest for a Long-lost Husband, was already widely known to overseas Chinese at the time. Chan Man and Chor Yuen’s adaptation removes the nationalist subplot concerning the Sino-Japanese war and focuses on the timeless family drama. The hometown in the film exudes the essence of a Chinese village that is rare in this trilogy. In contrast, location shots of Singapore’s cityscape provide the backdrop for the drama that presents the social network of overseas Chinese. Keung Chung-ping’s lively performance as a lazy opportunist and Nam Hung’s sympathetic yet homely beauty fulfill the audience’s expectations for the leading stars. The car-chasing-train scene at the end, crossing from Singapore to Malaysia, is an excellent use of exotic locations and thrilling action, while making up for the traditional values. That is the kind of cinematic story one could not have shot in Hong Kong.

Chan Man (1924-2012)
After participating in the founding of Union Film Enterprise in 1952, Chan Man later co-founded Kong Ngee Film Company with Chun Kim and acted as assistant manager, producer and director. Known for his low-key persona and excellence in planning, he also directed various solid Cantonese films such as China Wife, The Happy Bride (1963), and A Go-Go Teenager (1966), etc.