Hou Yao, Minwei Li / CN, 1927
It was the first Chinese film to feature a woman in a lead role and the first Chinese costume drama. Xi Xiang Ji – released in the Netherlands as The Rose of Pushui – is a historical love story and adventure film in one, laden with spectacular martial arts scenes. With live accompaniment on saxophone, clarinet, guitar and vocals by Oene van Geel, Anton Goudsmit and Mete Erker.
China during the Tang dynasty. As he travels to the capital for the imperial civil service examination, the student Zhang Sheng falls in love with Cui Yingying, a stunning beauty and a minister”s daughter. Her family is in mourning as her father has just passed away. Meanwhile bandit leader Sun Fei Hu plots to abduct the now unprotected Yingying, but comes up against Zhang Sheng, who means to rescue the love of his life with the help of ruse and military prowess.
De Nederlandsche Filmliga (Dutch Film League) released this martial arts film/costume drama/love story/literary film adaptation as The Rose of Pushui. The spectacular martial arts scenes were unprecedented when the film was released in the 1930s. Xi Xiang Ji ushered in a series of early Wuxia (martial arts) films in China.
The live music to Xi Xiang Ji is performed by three leading names in the Dutch improvised music scene: winner of the prestigious Boy Edgar Award Oene van Geel (viola, vocals, percussion), Boy Edgar laureate Anton Goudsmit (guitars) and acclaimed saxophone and clarinet player Mete Erker.
Hou Yao, Minwei Li