Romance on Lushan Mountain (or Love on Lushan Mountain or A Love Story at Lushan Mountain) (1980)
Director: Huang Zumu.
Starring: Zhang Yu, Guo Kaiming, Wen Xiyang.
the Cultural Revolution makes love very difficult for a young couple
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film.
A pretty young woman comes to a hotel on Lushan Mountain in the landlocked Jiangxi province, China (found in the south of China one province away from the Pacific Ocean). The last time she was here was five years ago. From the back of her taxi she shouts hello to someone she knows and the woman says: "Hey, Miss Zhou Yun." She says hello to Chief Zhao who remembers her from five years ago. She sits in her room thinking about the last time she was there.
Flashback. Zhou Yun says: "I can't jeopardize him." She looks out the window and sees Geng Hua waving to her.
Back to the present. Zhou Yun says that it's been five years since she parted from Geng Hua. She comments: "After the downfall of the Gang of Four (of the destructive Cultural Revolution) we Chinese abroad are all very happy." But now no one knows the whereabouts of Geng Hua.
Flashback. At Lushan Mountain for the first time, Zhou Yun looks at the letter of introduction to the place written for her by her father. He suggests she visit the Bailudong Academy, one of the greatest academies of ancient China. She takes a picutre of the Zhenliu rock, but a young make jumps into the picture just as she snaps her Polaroid camera. She shouts down to him to tell him that he got into her photograph. He says he is sorry and runs off. Zhou Yun says to herself: "Why did I drive him off?"
The next day Zhou Yun sees the young man again. When he sees her, he asks: "Am I in your shot again?" And then he just quickly leaves. Zhou Yun is perplexed by his strange behavior.
Zhou Yun finds the young man again. He is practicing saying his English: "I love my motherland! I love the morning of my motherland!" Zhou Yun hides and repeats the lines after he says them. He can't see who is copying him. And before he can find out, his mother calls him and he is off once again.
The next day it starts to rain. Zhou Yun takes cover from the rain. She runs into the young fellow once again and he comes in out of the rain too. When he sees her, he starts to run away again, but she stops him. She tells him to throw his cigarette away or else he will get a huge tumor in his throat. He ignores her, so she grabs it out of his mouth and throws it onto the wet ground. He starts to light up another cigarette, thinks better of it and throws the rest of his cigarettes out in the rain.
Zhou Yun sees that she is going to have to take the initiative. She goes over to him and says: "Be my friend." They shake hands. She and he introduce themselves. She tells him that her father was a general of the Kuomintang under General Chang Kai Shek.
Flashback to the United States. Zhou Yun grew up in the United States. She remembers going camping and hunting with her mother and father. They learn that the Gang of Four had been deposed. Now she can go to China to look around the country for herself. Her father wants her to go see China.
Flashback to Lushan Mountain. Geng Hua wants Zhou Yun to come to China to stay. He picks some flowers for her. In the Untied State Zhou Yuan is at a university studying architecture. She says that her father wants her to work in China to help rebuild buildings, many of which dad had helped destroy while fighting a civil war in China for twenty years. Geng Hua tells her that his father wants the same thing for him. He wants him to build new buildings for a modern China. But Geng Hua says that he can't go to the university until his father is liberated. Zhou Yun doesn't understand what that means, so he explains that he has to wait for his father to be released from a camp where he is censored and criticized for his thoughts and attitudes. His father was in Lushan as part of the Revolution. His mother was liberated first because her health had deteriorated so much. And Geng Hua takes care of his mother when he can.
The couple has stayed together for the whole day and into the night. Geng Hua has to excuse himself to go help his mother. They agree to meet tomorrow at five to see the sunrise. They are so early that they find themselves in the fog. Later they set up the Polaroid camera so they can take a picture of both of them in the photo. They agree to meet tomorrow at 2 p.m.. He says that if she ever needs him, she can use her make-up mirror to shine light into his room to get his attention.
Zhou Yun is already by 2 p.m. the next day. But Geng Hua doe not show up. She goes to his mother's house to find out what happened. She shines the mirror on the house. The mother comes out of the house. She explains that two people came and took Geng Hua away to write a confession. The romantic couple had aroused suspicion. They went out early and came back late, seeking secluded places for secret talks. And they met at special places and used mirrors as a contact signal.
Zhou Yun is very upset at this bad news. She asks the mother what should she do? She wonders if she has gotten Geng Hua in trouble. She asks mom: "Can I do something to help him?" No, there is nothing she can do. Mom gives her the drawing that her son had made: a picture of the Lushan Mountains in the foreground and a future, brand new modern city in the background. Zhou Yun cries. She tells mom that she will go back to the United States early.
At the hotel that night, Geng Hua waits outside in the rain for her to come down. She closes the windows and cries. She says: "No, I can't jeopardize him.!"
The next day Zhou Yun says goodbye to the the Chief. She gets on a ship to go home.
Back to the present. Zhou Yun says that it really is all her fault because she forgot to ask for Geng Hua's address. She wonders to herself: "How shall I find you?" She thinks about the conversations she last had with Geng Hua.
Geng Hua comes back to Lushan Mountain. Chief Zhao sees him and stops to talk. The young man says he came here form Qinghua University to attend the lecture of two American scholars. He is now a graduate student of architecture. Chief Zhao tells him that Zhou Yun is here. In fact, she has been here for ten days and has been looking for Geng Hua everywhere. Geng Hua starts running to see if he can find her. A young woman tells him that the lady he seeks went to Longgouhu Lake.
Geng Hua runs to the lake. Zhou Yun sees him and waves to him. They swim to each other. They are finally together again. Zhou Yun says she would like to go to the places she missed last time, such as Donglin Temple. Geng Hua agrees to go with her. They also go swimming again. They visit a nearly one thousand year old bridge. At the Pond of Jude she kisses him. He tells her to come back and they will work together. Zhou Yun asks if his parents will agree to this. He says yes, they will. He will call them to come to Lushan Mountain.
Zhou Yun writes a letter to her father. She says she found Geng Hua again and hopes dad is happy for her. She says his dad is Geng Feng, who is working in the Academy of Science. He used to be a communist general. She says she hopes that she can get the consent of his parents to the marriage.
Yun's father gets his daughter's letter. When he learns that the boy's father is a former communist general with which he was once friends, he tells his wife that he will not consent to his son's marrying their daughter.
Geng Hua's parents are coming to Lushan to meet Yun. Dad tells mom that their son would have to fall in love with the daughter of a Kuomintang general. Their son greets them on the road to the top of Lushan Mountain. He tells his parents that Yun didn't come with him because she is afraid they won't like her. Dad says if their son likes her, then they like her.
Geng Hua speaks with Yun. His father has invited her to dine with the family. But Yun will not go. She is still too nervous to meet his parents. Yun asks her boyfriend to please call her at 9 p.m. to tell her what his father's decision is. She gives him her locket which contains a picture of her and her parents.
Geng Hua gives the locket to his father. When he sees Yun's father, he recognizes him as his old friend. They had a falling out over politics. One fought for the Nationalists and the other for the Communists. Mother tells her husband that he and his old friend have been foes for twenty years now. And now they will become relatives by marriage. She adds: "This is indeed rare." Dad and mom have to discuss the matter at length. So Geng Hua misses the 9 p.m. deadline.
While waiting for the phone call, Yun gets a telegram from her father. She reads it and learns that her father will not consent to the marriage. He tells to come back home immediately. She throws herself on the bed and starts to cry. Geng Hua finally callas after 12 p.m., but Yun doesn't answer the phone. She says that she should leave now. She tells the hotel chief that she will be leaving for the United States in the morning. There is a knock on the door. Yun finally opens the door and is surprised to see Geng Hua and his parents. Dad can see she has been crying and he says that it is all his fault. He took awhile to decide. Yun refers to him as uncle, but dad says that she should call him father-in-law. Now Yun knows that Geng Hua's father said yes. She is very happy. Father-in-law tells her to write a letter to her dad and tell him that her new father-in-law will welcome him back to China.
Yun's parents arrive from the United State. The two old friends greet each other. Father-in-law says: "Let the past be the past." They should look to the future. Now everyone is happy.
Nice love story. For a change we have a happy ending love story. I needed one for a break from a string of unhappy Chinese love stories. The guy and the gal are young, enthusiastic and very idealistic. The gal is very cute and the guy is handsome in a boyish way. And they get along so well. But when they want to marry, they have to confront a problem between their two families. It's a bit of a Romeo and Juliet story, but with a happy ending. There isn't a lot of history here. The focus is the love story, not the history. The Cultural Revolution did a great deal of damage to many people in China, but in the film now the Gang of Four behind the revolution has been overthrown, so to speak. But the divisions between the two sets of parents began much earlier, in the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950) with the split between the Nationalists and the Communists.
There are other movies which deal more in depth with the history of this period of time in this film and you should chose one of those.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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