This is the one. THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR is the movie that put Ronny Yu on the map. Or at least mine. This was 1993, back when people like me were first discovering Hong Kong cinema, and martial artists flying around on wires seemed like the greatest discovery since their primary antagonist, gravity. I remember waiting weeks for a widescreen, subtitled VHS I special ordered from Suncoast Motion Picture company in a mall somewhere. I must’ve watched it several times in the ’90s, but when I revisited it for this series it had been so long that I could only recall the look and feel of it, and basically nothing about the story.
The way I remember it, we all agreed back then that this movie was a masterpiece. But here I am 30 years later, and I don’t think the generation of film fans after mine would necessarily know who Ronny Yu was if I asked, or have heard of this movie. It has recently finally come to remastered blu-ray overseas, so a good transfer was on a streaming service for a while, and now can be bought digitally, but when I started writing this series there was only the old Tai Seng DVD – a pretty rough, non-anamorphic transfer. It made me wish I’d saved that tape. Watching it now, of course, it lacks the freshness and novelty it had in 1993, the thrill of a new world opening up to us. We’ve seen this kind of fantastic martial arts world imagined many more times and in much more detail over the last quarter century.
But I think THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR still packs a punch. It’s a short, sweet, and stylish little tragic love story that speaks about good and evil but refuses to paint even its operatic fantasy world in such easily definable categories. And by looking at it as part of this Uncle Sam Wants Yu series I’m able to see it as a culmination of everything the director had been working on up to that point. (read the rest of this shit…)