Hong Kong Cinema Kung Fu


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Hong Kong Cinema Kung Fu

  1. 1. Hong Kong Cinema Kung Fu
  2. 2. Wong Fei Hung • Started in 1949 and established the archetype of the Kung Fu hero, fighting for ‘justice and the needy.’ • Based on real-life hero who died in 1924. Over 70 Wong Fei Hung films were made, mainly as they were box office gold! • Once Upon A Time in China with Jet Li is a reconstruction of this tale.
  3. 3. Kung Fu/Wuxia • Lau Kei Lung (Choreographer) 60s, real life martial artist used to help choreograph fight scenes. His real life kung fu training helped make his work particularly authentic.
  4. 4. Sir Run Run Shaw • Shaws studio (Influence of Run Run Shaw) • Director making 5 films per year E.g. Chor Yuen (editing in the camera) Shoot a shot, then another within same choreographed scene rather than multi camera shots. This was based on economic constraints. Filmmakers didn’t have time to get multi angled shots (E.g. C/U, M/S & L/S for every shot in film)
  5. 5. 70s- Conventions • Challenge of the Masters (1967) • Heroes II (1974) • Recycled ideas (rivalry between two martial arts schools- one doesn’t play by the rules. • The hero is humiliated by not defending himself, taken in by a Sifu (kung fu master) and undergoes training. Must be subservient to Sifu
  6. 6. Conventions Cont... • Tortuous exercises • Plot requires motive and this is always revenge • Master is killed by other school using secret weapon • Hero returns for revenge but remembers warning of Sifu such as ‘forgive and guard against arrogance.’
  7. 7. Ethics & Training • The martial arts ethic is therefore crucial • Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984) In showdown with enemy (the de fanging technique used so no harm comes to enemy...demonstrates that every effort is made not to harm opponent) • 36th Timber of Shaolin: All about the training techniques. (Takes 5 years)
  8. 8. Fighting Styles • Drunken Master (Jackie Chan) • Real Kung Fu styles include Dragon style & Butterfly palm • The pitting of one style versus another was a theme of many kung fu films • The Five Venoms (1977) Villains use Different styles based on poisonous creatures (Choreographer Long Ping)
  9. 9. Importance of Shaolin Monastery • Return of the 36th Chamber- A monk working on the roof observing monks develops his own style (scaffolding kung fu) • Note that the setting of the Shaolin Monastery is crucial
  10. 10. Bruce Lee • No parrying, simply hitting the target. Jeet Kun Do (Lee’s unique style based on simplicity, speed and hitting people very hard) one strike and you are down! • Nationalism- Fist of Fury (Japanese/foreign villains) yet ironically hugely popular with foreign audiences • Died in 1973 aged 33 and subsequently has maintained legendary status
  11. 11. The Bruce Lee Impact • The Boxer from Shantung- The same dramatic realism used by Bruce Lee Fu Sheng • Chen Guantai (actor) made name using Lee’s style, as many others did too • Actors regularly got hurt within this new style • Disciples of Shaolin (1975) Swaggering W/C hero respectful only of his own fighting talents (Alexander Fu Sheng- heartthrob of this era)
  12. 12. Who will be the ‘new’ Bruce Lee? • Chen Quin Tai- Co starred with Fu Sheng and a second rising star of this period based on the archetype created by Bruce Lee • Alexander Fu Sheng, like Lee, died young in 1983
  13. 13. Comedy... • Spiritual Boxer (1975) Creating the new Bruce Lee was impossible so instead, directors looked for new hybrid Kung Fu formulas. • Amiable rogue attempting to defend the downtrodden. (Wong Yu- star of Spiritual Boxer)
  14. 14. Dirty Ho (1979) • Considered to be a Kung Fu masterpiece • Juggling/combat and comedy fused together in unique manner, thereby challenging conventions
  15. 15. ‘The 2nd Bruce Lee:’ Jackie Chan • Set himself up as antithetical of Lee (clown, hurts his hand all the time, kicks low, not high & is very human) • Construction of the anti-hero • Painted Faces (1988) Chan was schooled in Beijing opera hall. This is depicted in Painted Faces. • Chan used these skills to create a new style of Kung Fu
  16. 16. Stephen Chow • The influence of Chan is definitely evident in the slapstick style adopted by local auteur, Stephen Chow • Kung Fu Hustle in particular is very much a parody and celebration of Hong Kong kung fu tradition
  17. 17. Modern day Action Films • Hugely influentail on 5th Generation Chinese directors such as Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of the Flying Dragon) • Ang Lee- Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon