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The Sorcerer and the White Snake ("Bai She Chuan Shuo", "It’s Love")

Canadian Premiere
Official Selection, Venice International Film Festival 2011

“Breathtaking, beautiful and engagingly bonkers… super-sleek… brimming with strange and oddly wonderful moments” – Mark Adams, SCREEN DAILY

From the lofty heights of their enchanted refuge up in the cloud-wreathed mountains, the lovely serpent goblins Susu and QingQing — White Snake and Green Snake — observe the mortal world below. When handsome, happy-go-lucky herb collector Xu Xian climbs too close for comfort, QingQing assumes her giant snake form and gives him a fright, sending him tumbling to the depths of the river below. Curiosity and compassion alike compel Susu to save his life with an underwater kiss. The goblin clan is scandalized — she’s broken a taboo! Susu’s and Xu Xian’s lips have touched and their vital essences exchanged. Both now carry a piece of the other in their hearts. Soon enough, lovestruck Susu and mischievous QingQing make a visit incognito to the realm of mortals. Susu seeks Xu Xian while QingQing seeks to keep her companion out of trouble — and maybe get into some herself, having taken a shine to the naïve young monk Neng Ren. There will be more trouble than they counted on, though, when Neng Ren’s master, the powerful demon hunter Fahai, gets wind of the goblins’ earthly antics…

An archetypal Chinese legend with ancient roots, the celebrated tale of Madame White Snake has been adapted countless times over the centuries, for the stage and the page, and in modern times for the big and small screens. One of the many versions was Tsui Hark’s 1993 gem GREEN SNAKE, which Fantasia unveiled for its audience in (1996). GREEN SNAKE was exemplary of the festival’s foundations — wondrous Asian fantasy replete with playful comedy, rich romance and magical kung fu. Now the sexy snake spirits return, care of the director of the beloved CHINESE GHOST STORY movies, with the stunningly beautiful Eva Huang and Charlene Choi in the lead roles and Jet Li as the stubborn, stoic monk Fahai. With a great cast (a number of notables join the fun as the snake goblins’ animal-fairy “family”), up-to-date effects work and an accent on romantic comedy (the alternate English title is IT’S LOVE), THE SORCERER AND THE WHITE SNAKE is certain to leave you charmed!

— Rupert Bottenberg