Raining In The Mountain [Eureka! Masters of Cinema] (Blu-ray Review)

Eureka Masters of Cinema Raining in the Mountain Blu-raySet in a remote Buddhist monastery in 16th Century China, Raining in the Mountain deals with a power struggle that ensues when the Abbot of the Three Treasures Temple announces his imminent retirement. The ageing Abbot invites three outsiders to advise him on the critical choice of appointing his successor: Esquire Wen, a wealthy patron of the monastery, General Wang, commander-in-chief of the local military, and Wu Wai, a respected lay Buddhist master. Within the monastery, several disciples aspiring to the position begin to collude individually with Esquire Wen and General Wang. But these two invited advisers have come with seditious intent, scheming to obtain the priceless scroll housed in the monastery: the scriptural text of “The Mahayana Sutra, ” hand-copied by Tripitaka. Meanwhile, convicted criminal Chiu Ming has arrived at the monastery to atone as a monk. He is assigned to safeguard the scroll at the house of scriptures, and encounters thieving rivals White Fox who poses as Esquire Wen s concubine and General Wang s fearsome Lieutenant Chang, who originally framed Chiu Ming for the crime he did not commit. Selected as one of the Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures by the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2005, The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present King Hu’s Raining in the Mountain on Blu-ray and DVD for the first time in the UK, from a new 2K restoration completed in 2018 by the Taiwan Film Institute.


Eureka Masters of Cinema Raining in the Mountain Blu-ray



Raining in the Mountain tells the tale of an ageing Abbot who invites three outsiders to advise his selection of who will take over the monastery once he has retired. A wealthy patron of the of the monastery, a local military general, and a Buddhist master are all vying for the title. Not only are they vying for the title, but from within the monastery itself, several monks and others of stature, are also trying to elevate their stations from within.

Raining in the Mountain is a fable, but where Legend of the Mountain was an almost horror film, with supernatural and fantasy elements, Raining in the Mountain is more a crime caper. It all takes place in the Ming Dynasty. If the sets, locations, and actors look familiar that’s because director King Hu shot this film back-to-back with Legend of the Mountain. Some of actors and their roles from the prior film are completely different than the latter film. King Hu was a busy man in 1979. The running time is also much shorter for Raining in the Mountain, as it clocks in at 121 minutes, whereas Legends of the Mountain clocked in at a massive 181 minutes.

I enjoyed Raining in the Mountain enough. It is not my favorite King Hu film, but the fact that it takes place on familiar ground as my favorite of his films (Legend of the Mountain) alleviates that. This film is also grounded a bit more in the real world, even though it’s still a fable. It is a crime caper of a film, while also featuring a bevy of characters who have criminal intent. There’s even a MacGuffin featured in the film, as well.

I think what also elevates the material a bit is that this is a gorgeous restoration available for the first time on Blu-ray from Eureka! Masters of Cinema. It is the definitive version of the film and should be watched in this edition. I should preface that by saying that the Blu-ray is Region B locked, so you will need a region-free Blu-ray player for proper playback.


Eureka Masters of Cinema Raining in the Mountain Blu-ray


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail: There are only a couple of short scenes which became a bit soft during close-ups but this is probably due to the source material(s) — there’s a disclaimer at the beginning of the film, which reads: “The film was originally released in 1979 and its digital restoration was completed by Taiwan Film Institute in 2018. Multiple sources, including its 35mm original negative, and interpositive, and a release print, were composited and the burned-in subtitles were removed for restoration and color correction.

Depth: The level of depth is quite impressive for a 41-year old film — this Blu-ray was sourced from a 2K master and it shows.

Black Levels: Black levels handled well and never crushed — ironically the majority of the film takes place in daylight and in well-lit interiors.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is lush and exact. Reds never bleed and banding is never an issue. There are some great outdoor shots that showcase the locations and of the monastery grounds.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones appear natural and never pasty or sickly.

Noise/Artifacts: I did not pick up on any noise, debris, or dirt while watching the film.

Eureka Masters of Cinema Raining in the Mountain Blu-ray


Audio Format(s): Chinese LPCM 1.0 (48kHz/24-bit)

Subtitles: English

Dynamics: Raining in the Mountain is presented in a nice 24-bit 1.0 LPCM channel. Don’t let that turn you off. The 1.0 LPCM track is filled with warmth and multidimensional. Usually with non-multichannel soundtrack one thinks that the sound will come off as tinny or flat. Maybe on some Blu-rays, but this soundtrack rocks.

Low-Frequency Extension: N/A

Surround Sound Presentation: N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels were clear and distinct, being that it’s a 1.0 presentation, I did not sense that everything was crammed all into one channel.


Eureka Masters of Cinema Raining in the Mountain Blu-ray


The extras are rather light on this release but the Tony Rayns and video essay by David Cairns are excellent. A theatrical trailer rounds out the features. The other features included are that of a booklet featuring essays, a copy of the DVD (it’s a dual-pack), and a limited edition O-card on the first print run of 2,000 copies.

  • Brand new and exclusive feature-length audio commentary by critic and Asian cinema expert Tony Rayns
  • Beyond Description A brand new video essay by David Cairns
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: a collector s booklet featuring new essays by Chinese-language film expert and author Stephen Teo; and Asian cinema expert David West, news editor at NEO magazine
  • Limited Edition O-Card (First print run of 2000 copies only)
  • DVD


Eureka Masters of Cinema Raining in the Mountain Blu-ray


Raining in the Mountain shares actors, locations, costumes, etc., with Legend of the Mountain, but that’s where it ends. This Eureka! Masters of Cinema Blu-ray features stellar video and audio specifications, with some light supplements of quality. It is recommended along with Legend of the Mountain, as a great double-feature.



DISCLAIMER: This Region B Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following HD Premium television set found HERE and Region-Free Blu-ray player HERE.  Make sure to check out all of our Blu-ray reviews archived HERE.  The images used above within the review are not actual Blu-ray screenshots. They are for illustrative purposes only.



Raining in the Mountain is

available on Blu-ray via Amazon UK.




Eureka Masters of Cinema Raining in the Mountain Blu-ray


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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