30 December 2009 | Goloh
Which version is this?
Normally I use the Review section to write reviews, and so will be the case here, but maybe someone can shed light on what it is I really saw. I bought a DVD of a different film, Mongolian Ping-Pong, and the DVD also contained a second film whose English title appeared as "Incense" on the film itself, and "Gone with Honor" on the cover. The film is dated 2005 and definitely appears to have been made in PRC, not in Taiwan as this IMDb entry shows, and definitely not in 1979. Searching Google only uncovers a 1979 version with both of those names, but no film details that I could read in English. So can someone help me know how and why this appeared alongside Mongolian Ping-Pong, apparently as a remake of a different (and unrated) film? Anyway ...
The basic plot involves a monk who runs and care-takes a temple in a small Chinese town. His prized possession, a statue of the Buddha, collapses. He has no resources to speak of, yet is determined to repair or replace the statue; for as he puts it, what is a temple without a statue? He has the most phenomenal bad luck every time he comes close to getting the money he needs for this work, and while he is made to look extraordinarily stupid each time something bad happens, he is quietly (very quietly) learning his lessons and planning his next moves. A resourceful monk, indeed.
It is such a "domestic" film, so underplayed and very realistic in every way, just a bit slow and bleak. The subtitles are clear and nicely informal, capturing the conversations well. I hope to discover the story behind this possible remake of the 1979 version, if that's what this is.