Moon Over Malaya

Hong Kong|1957|B&W|120 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) 19:30 BC

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.