Lee Khan, a high official under Mongolian Emperor Yuan of the Yuan dynasty (year 1366) procures the battle map of the Chinese rebel Chu Yuan-Chang's army. Rebel spies, aided by treachery within Khan's ranks, strive to corner him in an inn.
A young swordswoman named Fang Ying-qi sets out to join a gathering of the martial world's leading warriors under the banner of Lord Xia and the Flying Dragon Clan. Their mission is to defend their country against invading forces.
An artist, Ku, lives with his mother near an abandoned fort, reputed to be haunted. One night, investigating strange noises, he meets the beautiful Yang who is living there. She is being pursued by agents of an Imperial noble who have murdered her family. Ku finds himself caught up in her struggle to survive, and many fierce battles take place before all is resolved. Action adventure with a lyrical feel, this is a kung fu film with a strong spiritual element.Written by
Richard Hills <R.Hills@wlv.ac.uk>
Director King Hu stated that the Ming Dynasty was a period "when Western influences first reached China", and that he conceived his films as critiques of the unjustified killings depicted in such Western movies as the James Bond film franchise, where the hero indiscriminately guns down faceless enemies. See more »
The candles seen in the film are clearly modern paraffin candles. 14th-century Chinese candles made from tallow or whale fat did not have that bright white color. See more »
The original cut of the film was over 400 minutes long. No extant prints of this edition are believed to have survived. See more »
Ok A Touch Of Zen can be describe like a Wu Xia Pian, but it is a good movie in all the direction. Not only a good wu xia pian, a good movie.
Critics of Occidental country always ignore the genre movie. It is why by exemple, we never saw "Ninkyo Eiga" from Japan, but it is the moste populare genre in the 60-70 era. When a director like Sergio Leone made too much succes, they can't ignore him. But in general, they try to put their own idea of the each country's cinematography on the dictionnary. Japan are a zen country who made slow movie like Ozu (althought Ozu try to made movie like American with Japanese things).
This is why the history of cinema are full of injustice. King Hu are one the great injustice. Yes, he made wu xia pian, a martial art genre movies. Swordplay movie in fact.
But is movies are a perfect mechanic, an exemple of editing. Hu made is own editing and like the piano play by Glenn Gould, we recognise his style when you pay attention of editing.
Hu dont want to use "wire" or special effect. He want use "editing" and camera to suggest anythings.
A Touch Of Zen are a gem. But i understand, it is maybe too much asian for the american country. All the first alf of the movie are talk and slow pacing. But the others alf are action, action and action. I dont know who want to watch that. Intellectual who love serious movies will love the first alf but maybe they just think acyion are too stupide. Same thing for the teenager who love action pack.
But, if you forget all your expectation, you will be touch byééé magic of poetry. Hu made a 3 distinctive parts movie. The first focus on individuality, the second on politics and the third on religion.
The first hour focuys on a naive scholar who discover strange yhing happen in the village where he live whit his old mothers. Suspens and mystery are the substance of this part.
The second show politics manipulation and the substance of war. This is the Hu tradionnal part. We are in Dragon Inn Gate, Fate Of Lee Khan or all the politics corruption things. A lot of martial arts.
The third part introduce us in the things of spirit. Hu show us a personn face to himself, the society and the spiritual....
But dont epect the spiritual journey like American movies. It his a King Hu movie. Ellipse and short cut are always where you dont expect and the focus always where you never goes....
A great movie.
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