Moon Over Malaya
Dir: Chun Kim
Scr: Madam Chan Ching (a.k.a. Chun Kim)
Cinematographer: Chan Kon
Cast: Patrick Tse Yin, Nam Hung, Patsy Kar Ling
The final instalment of the trilogy is a prime example of Cantonese melodrama. Patrick Tse Yin plays an enthusiastic overseas Chinese teacher who marries a wealthy heir played by Nam Hung. He then follows his father-in-law into the business world. However, adapting a profession against his own interest has caused a rift between him and his wife, which leads them to a path of tragedy. By using overseas Chinese’s emphasis on education as the protagonist’s vocation, director Chun Kim focuses on laying out his characters’ dialectical reasoning. In the several scenes of argument between husband and wife, they discuss personal dreams and marital conflicts, yet there is never any preaching of personal values, just a demonstration of the many complicated facets of humanity. One can see all of Chun’s signature elements, such as a honeymoon romance, a youthful and idealistic man, the death of a maternal wife, and the life of a widower and his daughter. The film is also about the growing pains of men and the soothing (yet short-lived) nature of women. The sure-handed mise-en-scène pairs perfectly with the sensitive and resounding performances. In the midst of the Malayan scenery, a matter of life and death, in addition to the agony of blossoming emotions, marks the pinnacle of Chun’s lyrical sensibilities.
Chun Kim (1926－1969)
A unique and vigorous Hong Kong writer-director who was active in the 1950s and 60s, Chun Kim participated in the establishment of Union Film Enterprise, and then Kong Ngee Film Company in 1955. His films are mostly modern melodramas and realistic comedies, which deal with subjects like middle-class sentiments and intellectual concerns. Among his many excellent works are A Mother’s Tears (1953), Autumn (1954), Parents’ Hearts (1955), and more.