Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Love Eterne (1963)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Love Eterne (1963, HK) (aka Liang Shan Bo yu Zhu Ying Tai)

In writer/director Han Hsiang Li's stylized musical operetta and tragic love-story (a dreamy romance about forbidden and unrequited love set in the 4th century) - one of the most famous and successful Chinese-language films ever made, with lavish sets, exquisitely-bright costuming, and elegantly staged scenes, and based on a legendary folk tale ("The Butterfly Lovers"), similar to Disney's animated Mulan (1998), and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:

  • the character of Zhu Ying-tai (Betty Loh Ti), a teenaged, 16 year-old girl and heiress from a wealthy family, who cross-dressed to disguise herself as a male in order to get an otherwise forbidden education, at the college at Hangzhou
  • Ying-tai's meeting at school with 17 year-old male Liang Shan-bo (portrayed by actress Ivy Ling Po), a working class boy and bookworm; they became close friends ("brothers") during their three years of schooling
  • the scene of their memorable long journey home when at a fantasy bridge, the teasing Ying-tai (secretly in love with Shan-bo) attempted multiple times to reveal that she was really a female to the dense and unsuspecting Shan-bo, who had accompanied her part-way home; all she could do was get him to give his consent to be matched with her "twin sister"
  • after he had returned to school Shan-bo eventually realized his passion for Ying-tai, but he was three months too late -- Ying-tai's conservative parents had blocked the young pair's budding romance by promising her hand in marriage to a son in the powerful and wealthy Ma family
  • in the magical and poignant conclusion, Shan-bo was so grieved by the loss of Ying-tai that he died and was entombed; during a visit to Shan-bo's grave site while on her way to her fiancee's home, Ying-tai (in mourning clothes) pledged her undying love: ("Alive, we couldn't unite, by death we will"); and miraculously, a tornado storm and earthquake cracked opened the brick-covered, dome-shaped tomb and Shan-bo appeared from inside; Ying-tai threw herself in, and the funnel cloud covered the sealed tomb with sand
Shan-bo's Grave-Tomb Cracked Open
Appearance of Shan-bo Inside Tomb
Ying-Tai Threw Herself Into Tomb
  • the final image: when the storm cleared, two remnants of cloth from Ying-tai's mourning clothes were visible on the outside of the tomb; when pulled out, they transformed into two beautiful butterflies that fluttered away into the heavenly skies together, as a chorus sang: "Flowers bloom under rainbow bridge, Butterflies flutter in pairs, Time goes by but their love won't die, That's Liang Shan-bo and Zhu Ying-tai!"

Ying-tai with Shan-bo at Fantasy Bridge

Shan-bo Grieved

Tornado Storm

Two Remnants of Cloth from Ying-Tai's Clothes

Pieces of Cloth Transformed into Heavenly Butterflies


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