Temptation of a Monk

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  • 1993
  • 6.4  (386)

The 1993 film "Temptation of a Monk" tells the story of a Buddhist monk named Hsuan-shang, who is tasked with transporting a rare and precious sutra to the Buddhist capital of Chang'an. Along the way, Hsuan-shang is beset by a number of temptations, as he is pursued by a woman disguised as a demon, and he becomes embroiled in a love triangle with a young monk named Fa-hsien and a beautiful courtesan named Qingliusang.

The film is set during the Tang Dynasty, a period of great cultural and artistic achievement in China's history, and director Clara Law uses the stunning landscapes and sweeping cinematography to capture the beauty and grandeur of the era. Joan Chen stars as the seductive Qingliusang, who is torn between her love for Hsuan-shang and her loyalty to her powerful patron, the warlord General Wang. Hsing-Kuo Wu delivers a powerful performance as Hsuan-shang, whose steadfast devotion to his Buddhist beliefs is tested by his attraction to Qingliusang and his desire to fulfill his duty as a monk.

One of the key themes of "Temptation of a Monk" is the struggle between desire and duty. Hsuan-shang is torn between his duty to transport the sutra and his growing attraction to Qingliusang, while Fa-hsien must choose between his love for Hsuan-shang and his own devotion to the Buddhist faith. The film explores the ways in which desire and temptation can test even the most committed practitioners of Buddhism, and how the pursuit of enlightenment can sometimes lead to unexpected consequences.

Another major theme of the film is the contrast between spirituality and materialism. Hsuan-shang is initially disgusted by Qingliusang's world of luxury and excess, but he is eventually drawn to her by her beauty and sophistication. The film contrasts this world with the simple and austere life of the Buddhist monks, who reject material possessions and devote themselves entirely to their faith. Through the character of Hsuan-shang, the film explores the difficulties of navigating these two contrasting worlds, and the ways in which spiritual and material desires can sometimes conflict with one another.

Visually stunning and thematically complex, "Temptation of a Monk" is a thought-provoking exploration of one man's spiritual journey in a time of great upheaval and uncertainty. With its lush cinematography, stunning landscapes, and compelling performances by its talented cast, the film is a haunting and evocative meditation on the nature of desire, the challenges of faith, and the quest for enlightenment.

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Description
  • Release Date
    1993
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (386)