Originally released back in 1986, Taiwanese drama Dark Night was based upon a novel by noted feminist writer Li Ang and was directed and scripted by Fred Tan, who previously worked as an assistant director for the legendary King Hu on the likes of Raining in the Mountain and Legend of the Mountain. Interestingly, the film was not Tan’s only literary adaptation, as in 1988 he brought Lust, Caution novelist Eileen Chang’s book Rouge of the North to the screen. Given the source material, it should come as no surprise that the film deals with themes of adultery and sexual repression, offering up a scathing depiction of the role of women in modern relationships.Read More »
The ghost of a murdered woman possesses a dancer’s body in order to exact vengeance on her killer.
Light Industry wrote:
A rarity unearthed from Harvard’s vaults, Fred Tan’s Split of the Spirit is a macabre tale of supernatural possession, necromantic battles, and the vengeful phantom of a woman scorned. In Tan’s stylish neo-noir thriller, a renowned female choreographer becomes overtaken by the specter of a murdered woman, who forces her to enact revenge upon the men who have wronged her. After a string of gruesome slayings, the film culminates in a searing conflagration, an allegorical avant-garde dance finale, and ultimately an Orphic journey to the afterworld and back. Tan worked as an assistant director to King Hu and made only three features before his death at age thirty-five; placing the forces of ancient sorcery in contemporary Taiwan and Hong Kong, he deploys an ominous synth soundtrack and an expressive, haunting mise-en-scène to bring primeval frights into the modern world.Read More »