Romance at Lung Shan Temple
Set in Taiwan in the 1960s, the film portrays how the native Taiwanese and the mainlanders (Chinese immigrants who arrived in Taiwan after 1949) live side by side in the community near Lung Shan Temple. In order to support her ailing father, Hsiao-fang sells medicinal wine at a market stall. Dreaming of becoming a singer, Hsiao-fang attracts the customers’ attention by her enchanting voice. Both Tang Liang, a young native Taiwanese man working at the radio station, and Lo Chung, a young photographer from mainland China, have fallen for beautiful Hsiao-fang. Trying to win her heart, Tang Liang and Lo Chung not only do everything they can for her but come up with all sorts of tricks to impress the girl. While pursuing love, the trio laugh and clash with one another. Soon, their entwined fates will take them by surprise, showing them the possibility of living together in harmony.
Through the mix of Taiwanese and Mandarin as well as the assigned roles, Romance at Lung Shan Temple depicts the longing for easing the tensions between the native Taiwanese and the mainlanders. Hsiao-fang, played by Chuang Hsueh-fang, is being pursued by two young men with distinctive characters of their backgrounds. The romantic comedy of one woman and two men fills the plot with youthful exuberance. The film scores were written by the renowned composer Chou Lan-ping. In addition to several beautiful songs, Tiu-tiu Tâng-á, a Taiwanese folk song sung in a mix of Taiwanese and Mandarin heard in the end of the film, emphasizes its intention to ease the tensions between the native Taiwanese and the mainlanders. Although the film was a box-office success in Taiwan and also released in Hong Kong and other Southeast Asian countries, it could not save Pai. Sadly, Pai was arrested by Taiwan Garrison Command for colluding with the enemy of the state and shot dead in the same year that the film came out. As a result, very few of Pai’s films have been preserved to date and Romance at Lung Shan Temple is one of them.
Born in Xiamen, China in 1914, Pai Ko was a director and film critic. In 1937, he won a scholarship to study at the Moscow Film School, however, the war broke out, stopping him from attending. In 1945, Pai arrived in Taiwan with the KMT government and served as the head of the Taiwan Film Studio, making newsreels and propaganda films. Between 1956 and 1962, Pai made eleven Taiwanese-language films and was best known for The Mad Woman's 18 Years and Romance at Lung Shan Temple. In 1962, he was arrested by Taiwan Garrison Command for “colluding with the enemy of the state from abroad” and was executed in 1964. In addition to directing, Pai taught at National Taiwan College of Arts and wrote as a film critic, exerting a profound influence on the Taiwanese film industry and filmmakers. Film critic Huang Jen hails Pai as the “first Taiwanese film critic”.