THE LOVE ETERNE blu-ray review

Hong Kong Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.35:1

Mandarin: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Subtitles: English, Mandarin









The Love Eterne is the first emotional Shaw Bros film that I have ever seen. Out of all the many films that I have seen from the Shaw Bros, this film is unexpectedly unique for a film from the 1960s. For anyone that knows a little about this film, the movie is like a Romeo & Juliet Chinese musical, which was hugely popular in its day (as like a Chinese version of The Sound of Music) and is considered a classic, which I definitely agree with. The movie is famous for its Huangmei opera style – a particular style of singing, as well as actors being either played by all boys or all girls.

While I do agree that the music in this film is hypnotic and keeps the movie moving at a very good pace, as well as amazing acting from both of the female leads, this movie can be interpreted in many ways. I had read reviews of this film before watching it, and I found out that Ang Lee has certainly been inspired by this film. I’m happy to have known that because with Crouching Tiger and Brokeback Mountain in the back of my mind, The Love Eterne is a really interesting film if it’s interpreted from a sexual political, women’s rights standpoint. I watched this film thinking that these were two women in love, not a woman and a man (played by a woman) in love. I felt that the movie is more emotionally powerful watching the film like this in which the movie is about two female lovers fighting society’s closed-minded norms, with so many obstacles preventing them to function or love each other during this time period. Watching the film with that in mind, it makes the story in this movie timeless, as these issues are still apparent today. The main female character dresses up as a man so that she can study in college because she’s an individual, she doesn’t want to be stupid, and doesn’t want to follow her parents traditional strict rules of how a woman should be, etc. And as she is in college, the audience sees a whole slew of other women dressed up like men studying that don’t want to be subservient idiots in a sexist society. She then meets another woman at her college who believes she’s a man even though she was born as a woman (my interpretation). So they both create a bromantic relationship as one is pretending to be a man, while the other one thinks she’s a man, and then they fall in love. It’s actually a pretty bizarre film if you watch it as a same-sex romance film. The Love Eterne is sort of like a better version of Boys Don’t Cry practically! You don’t have to watch this as a lesbian film, but I think it works better as one.

Onto the Region A Hong Kong blu-ray:
Oh…baby…Intercontinental Video are professionals. Period. Wow! Who are these guys? Holy crap, this is the first old Hong Kong movie on blu-ray that is a real blu-ray! A real, restored blu-ray! (Kam & Ronson, I like that you are releasing old Chinese movies too, but come on, learn something from Intercontinental!) If you were impressed with the slew of Shaw Bros movies that they remastered onto DVD, wait till you see this blu-ray. The video is basically perfect. I would have given it a perfect 5 out of 5, but the video sometimes had a very, very slight camera shake to it. I’m not sure if that’s how the original film was, or if that’s something they could have fixed, or if it’s just something that my blu-ray player was doing. But either way, damn this blu-ray looks amazing! The video looks three-dimensional, colors are crisp and eye-popping! You can see good skin tone, textures, clear background, clean video, not a scratch, not a hair, not a speck. It just looks amazing!

The audio is very good too. The Mandarin DTS-HD 5.1 does the job well done. It still has a slight hollow claustrophobic sound to it, but what do you expect – 98 percent of the movie was most likely filmed on an indoor set. The audio is solid – it’s clear and sounds excellent during the songs. It’s an audio recorded from the 1960s, not from 2011. It’s perfectly fine and does what expected. It certainly sounds better than any of the audio choices on the K&R blu-rays.

I really, really like Intercontinental for one main reason – the English subtitles! The English subtitles on the Love Eterne blu-ray are practically perfect! Wow, why can’t the rest of Chinese blu-ray companies do that? I can’t take another Hong Kong movie with Chinglish. As I remember now, the Shaw Bros movies released on DVD by Intercontinental always had decent English subtitles. Me likey!

The extras are very nice too – two trailers for The Love Eterne (one original trailer and one 2003 trailer which was probably created for their DVD version), and also trailers for their other blu-rays – The Kingdom and the Beauty and The Three Smiles. There are also two trailers for the One-Armed Swordsman and the New One-Armed Swordsman, which I assume will be their next two blu-ray releases since they are getting advertised on this blu-ray. There is also an interesting English-subtitled documentary about Huangmei opera which runs for about 15 minutes.

The Love Eterne is a very interesting film with a surprising epic climax. I now have two favorite Shaw Bros. films – Come Drink With Me and The Love Eterne. I highly recommend this Shaw Bros. classic and this amazing quality blu-ray!

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