Portrait of Lin Ching Hsia

If there is no such thing as getting enough Brigitte Lin for you, this TV documentary is something that you should watch if you ever get the opportunity. It is Brigitte – from stem to stern – from top to bottom – from beginning to end. It is pure unadulterated Brigitte Lin – dancing, singing, cooking, yakking away and laughing.

This 1991 tribute to Brigitte was made at an interesting point in her career. She had just made a comeback with Red Dust for which she received a well deserved Best Actress award after a few fairly dry years in the late 1980’s, but it was still before her classic roles in such films as Swordsman II, The Bride with White Hair, Dragon Inn and Ashes of Time.

I should mention that this film has no English sub-titles, which is a real shame because Brigitte has lengthy conversations with Tsui Hark's wife, Tsui Hark, her parents and others. Even though I could not understand the conversations, it was a pleasure just to watch her face as it becomes so animated and even giddy at times. She simply comes across as a wonderfully fun person to be around – personable, warm, charming and totally down to earth. Nary a hint of Asia the Invincible in evidence!

Though a few scenes of her films are shown (far too few in fact) and some old pictures of her are displayed, the film basically allows her to become a tour guide of her early life. So Brigitte visits the small town and house where she lived as a child – and she needs to ask an elderly lady where the house is and the woman looks at her – slightly puzzled – and then goes “aren’t you Lin Ching Hsia!" after which she happily leads Brigitte down the street and calling out to her neighbors.

Brigitte rides a bicycle with children, goes to her old school and sings with the kids and cooks eggs for her parents (of which she seems inordinately proud!) and chats with her then boyfriend – Chin Han. Much of this is clearly mundane – if it had been almost anyone but Brigitte I would have fallen asleep long ago. There are two wonderful scenes though that were created specifically for this special and both take place at the beginning of the film.
Brigitte appears at the start of the film like a spectacular vision in a low cut stunning gold nightgown and proceeds to pose like a Goddess on review beneath a giant portrait of herself. She then chats for a bit with Hark's wife, Shi Nan-sun, changes into another fabulously elegant burgundy outfit and does a tango with a very young chic Jordan Chan. Her beauty is heart clutching.

A rating is superfluous for a film like this – if you love Brigitte see it if you can, if not you probably are not even reading this!