2 items from 2016
Widely and rightly regarded as not only one of the finest martial arts films ever made, but one of the greatest works in of all Chinese cinema, King Hu’s A Touch of Zen (Xia nü, 1971) is most often lauded for its extraordinary fight sequences. Why the film is so exceptional, however, is that as great as these fight scenes are (and they are spectacular), they may not even be the best part of the movie. With 180 minutes to work with in its complete uncut version, which will screen in a new 4K restoration at Film Forum April 22 through May 5, Hu launches A Touch of Zen above most of its genre, above even his own impressive output, amplifying the essentials of the martial arts film while infusing it with other cinematic ingredients. The first shot of A Touch of Zen is of a spider moving in on its cobweb-entangled prey. »
- Jeremy Carr
Hailed as one of the biggest epics of the wuxia genre, “A Touch of Zen” is a true masterpiece of the category that stands apart particularly due to its technical prowess and high symbolism. The script is based on a short story titled “The Magnanimous Girl” by Pu Songling that was published in 1679.
Gu is a talented painter and scholar who still lives with his mother, who worries about him being unambitious, unmarried and his decline to apply for a civil servant position. Eventually, a young girl named Yang and her mother settle in an abandoned house nearby, which everybody considers haunted. Gu’s mother however, does not seem at all bothered by the fact and she proceeds in an effort to arrange a marriage between Gu and Yang. The girl declines but she and Gu strike a peculiar friendship, after she explains that she and her mother are fugitives, »
- Panos Kotzathanasis
2 items from 2016
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