The best of the 21 films produced by Li Hanxiang's company Guolian, Song's second feature is a bitter denunciation of China's feudal heritage, very much in the vein of Shi Hui's The Whole Life of Mine. Lu Laosan (Yang) is forced by his father into a job as a court attendant and quickly realises that the legal system is shockingly corrupt. His attempts to help a young widow (Wu) falsely accused of stealing from and murdering her husband merely draw him into the corruption; he is made to testify against her. Composed for the 'Scope frame with a formality that soon picks up an edge of irony, this resonant protest remains a high point in Taiwanese film history.
Cast and crew