A Chinese Ghost Story

dir. Ching Siu-tung

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

Skip to schedule and film credits
Produced by Hong Kong New Wave icons Tsui Hark and Nansun Shi, the enormously popular martial arts-horror-comedy hybrid sparked the late-1980s boom in Hong Kong supernatural comedies.

ARCHIVAL PRINT!

Produced by Hong Kong New Wave icons Tsui Hark and Nansun Shi, the enormously popular martial arts/horror/comedy hybrid A Chinese Ghost Story was loosely adapted from a story by eighteenth-century writer Pu Songling, whose collection Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio also served as an inspiration for films by King Hu and Li Han-hsiang. The great Hong Kong actor and pop star Leslie Cheung — who would soon after attain global fame in Chen Kaige's Farewell My Concubine and several landmark films by Wong Kar-wai — stars as Ning Choi-san, a timid young tax collector sent to a remote town to collect the yearly dues. Shunned by the locals and refused shelter, he spends the night in a crumbling temple, where he meets and becomes enamoured of a beautiful young woman — who, no surprise given the title, turns out to be a ghost. With the aid of a mystically talented wandering swordsman, Ning tries to free his spectral beloved from her otherworldly enslavement. Raucous, unabashedly silly and just plain fun, A Chinese Ghost Story is "the quintessential merger of the traditional Chinese ghost story with the Hong Kong pop sensibility" (Barbara Scharres).