By B. Taka
Today my class watched a very intriguing film by the legendary Chinese filmmaker, King Hu. This was King Hu’s first film and was made back when he went by the name “King Chuan.” Sons of Good Earth was a very impressive first film due to many elements. By looking at the actors King Hu chose to play as the protagonists, you can tell that he was a fairly respectable and a very wise filmmaker. Peter Chen Ho and Betty Lo Ti, two very popular Chinese actors, agreed to play in this film.
King Hu was probably able to pull this off because he actually acted with these two before. For some people like me, this alone would make me interested in seeing the film. Even the fact that he chose to do the film in Mandarin, even though many of his actors were Cantonese speakers, shows that it was important to him to extend the story out to a wider group of audience.
Another thing that I admire from this film is the fact that King Hu was able to incorporate his painting with the story. It doesn’t seem like he just threw the idea in there because he is an experienced painter; it actually has a very relevant part to the story and he uses it to express emotion of the people at that place and time. I think it is really wonderful when a person is able to combine two of their talents together. Also observing how much detail was put into the scenes shot in the studio is just amazing. Maybe it was a typical Chinese studio but I thought it was excellent and felt very realistic as if I were there in their shoes.
What makes this film even better is that we get to see King Hu himself act as such a strong role. King Hu plays the police captain in this film, who then leads the guerrillas to finally fight back after too many wrongdoings have been done to them. This role says a lot about King Hu’s passion for making this film.
The film, of course, is not completely happy because it is not supposed to be. Yes, the main couple is reunited once again in the end, but it is important that we witness the loss of his dear friend who has been with him since the beginning. Although many people may have disapproved of this film, it is important to realize the elements of truth that may come from the story King Hu was so passionate to tell of from such a difficult time in a place they call home. Kudos to King Hu for taking such a great risk with his first film in order to share a story that was very meaningful to him.