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Raining in the Mountain

Raining in the Mountain
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Raining in the Mountain

1979 / 120min / DCP

DIRECTOR: KING HU

A stubborn, obsessive perfectionist and a walking catalog of Chinese culture, Hu’s connection to the martial arts went well beyond the whiplash, crowd-pleasing action he so memorably put on film. For Hu, the fighting arts weren’t just a matter of flashy jump kicks, but a single skein pulled from an ancient, hallowed philosophical tapestry. All of this comes through elegantly and eloquently in Raining in the Mountains, the director’s most personal, doted-upon film, and his most misunderstood. Played out against a lush backdrop of blue, fog-shrouded South Korean mountain ranges, it observes various parties jostling to snag a unique, handwritten scroll of Buddhist wisdom. The action, of course, is entrancing and impactful, but one thing that puts Hu head and shoulders above other wuxia directors is the sense of crucial value he confers to the contents of those disputed scrolls—not merely a carrot-on-a-stick plot driver, but an invaluable part of human heritage.