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World Cinema Series: Long Live the Wife / 太太万岁

What Long Live the Wife, a lively and well-acted comedy, is celebrated Chinese writer Eileen Chang’s second film script. The film is centered on the figure of Chen Sizhen (Jiang Tianliu) whose marriage to Tang Zhiyuan (Zhang Fa), an ambitious bank clerk and a typical Shanghai xiao shi min (petty urbanite), is dull. Their relationship is unromantic and she fails to bear him a son. Nonetheless she tries to be a good housewife. Their universe spins into turmoil when Tang starts an affair.
When 9 June 2009 (Tuesday), 7:30 pm
Where National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897
Admission

Free admission but members only -- flash your membership card to go in. You may bring up to 2 guests if you hold a SFS Reel membership card. Non-members may sign up online or at the door -- we will issue membership on the spot. No tickets will be sold. Free seating.

 

Long Live the Wife / 太太万岁

Director: Sang Hu (桑弧)

Writer: Eileen Chang (张爱玲)

1947 | China | 107min | 35mm | PG

In Mandarin with English subtitles

 

Long Live the Wife, a lively and well-acted comedy, is celebrated fiction writer Eileen Chang’s second film script. Following immediately from Love without End (1947), it proved to be another financially successful collaboration with director Sang Hu for Wenhua Film Studio.

 

The film is centered on the figure of Chen Sizhen (Jiang Tianliu) whose marriage to Tang Zhiyuan (Zhang Fa), an ambitious bank clerk and a typical Shanghai xiao shi min (petty urbanite), is dull. Their relationship is unromantic and she fails to bear him a son. Nonetheless she tries to be a good housewife. Their universe spins into turmoil when Tang starts an affair with a glamorous woman, Zhu Mimi (Shangguan Yunzhu), who cares for nothing but his money. A crisis ensues.

 

 

About the Director Sang Hu (桑弧)

 

Director Sang Hu (1916 – 2004) born in Shanghai, China, started his career as a scriptwriter in 1941. He produced and directed many remarkable films such as Love without End (1947) and The Butterfly Lovers (1953), and explored the comedy genre in his films such as Long Live the Wife (1947). Throughout Sang’s career in film, he made many contributions to the Chinese film industry, including helming the position of President at the China Film Association for 3 years. Subdued, intricate, subtle and honest, Sang Hu’s style unveils profundity through banality, and conveys passion through tranquility.

 

 

About the Scriptwriter Eileen Chang (张爱玲)

 

Eileen Chang has emerged as one of the best modern Chinese fiction writers in Shanghai. Her life in the 1940s reeked of paradoxes. The Japanese Occupation (1941-1945) marked the peak of her creativity and celebrity. Yet it was also in this period that, after the War of Resistance against Japan, her name came to be linked with treason in the hegemonic discourse of revolutionary nationalism because of her marriage to Hu Lancheng, a top propaganda official of the Wang Jingwei regime. Under these ideological pressures, Chang wrote little in postwar Shanghai, and, in 1952, exiled herself to Hong Kong and then, to the U.S., where she died in 1995.

 

For many years after her exile from China, Eileen Chang was marginalized, if not ostracized, from the literary scene. Aside from a few short pieces, she was engaged mainly in scholarly research. The 1980s marked a rehabilitation of her literary career when her works produced during the Occupation inspired a new generation of “Chang fans”, who cherished her exquisite voice that was refreshingly different from the dominant literary discourse. All her writings, including many newly discovered ones, were re-published and became big sellers across the Chinese-speaking world. Chang’s short story Lust, Caution was adapted into an award winning movie of the same name by director Ang Lee. As recent as February this year, Chang’s novel Little Reunion, which was long thought to be lost, was published to great acclaim and popularity. Eileen Chang attained celebrity once again, almost sixty years since her lapse into silence.