Ip Man's peaceful life in Foshan changes after Gong Yutian seeks an heir for his family in Southern China. Ip Man then meets Gong Er who challenges him for the sake of regaining her family's honor. After the Second Sino-Japanese War, Ip Man moves to Hong Kong and struggles to provide for his family. In the mean time, Gong Er chooses the path of vengeance after her father was killed by Ma San.Written by
Official submission of Hong Kong to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category. See more »
Gong Yutian spoke to me about his last move: Old Monkey Hangs Up His Badge. He said the secret of that move was to turn back. I didn't understand his meaning at the time, I thought he was unable to keep up with changing times...
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The original version released in Asia removes a portion of Yi Xintian's subplot. The rain fight sequence between Xintian and Ip Man shown in the trailer, for example, was removed. However, Wong Karwai then recut the movie for a special Berlin Film Festival screening by incorporating the missing scenes back, but editing out several scenes from the original version including a fight sequence between Ip Man and a Hong Kong challenger. Both versions are missing crucial segments that made all three main characters' journey feel incomplete. The actual finished movie was rumored to be 4 hours long. Wong Karwai mentioned he had no intention of releasing the 4 hour version. See more »
Some may say Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon (You can't beat its award score), other may say Zhang Yimou's "Hero" or Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury or Chow's Kung Fu Hustler if you like comedy. I would will say Wong Kar Wai's Grandmaster is the best Kung Fu movie ever made.
First Crouching Tiger is more wuxia than kung fu, as it is about swordfight and you do not know any style of kung fu used in the film (are they really Wudang?). Then comes Zhang Yimou's "Hero" with a classic fight scene between Jet Li and Donnie Yen which is simply the best sword-fight in film history, only to be matched by the classic fist-fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris in Way of the Dragon. But I would say Zhang's film is too political in context and Bruce's top notch is more physical than spirit (and the whole of his top kungfu film is not satisfying).
Wong's Grandmaster wins in spirit, in style more than in physique and awards. With long research and a semi-documentary style film-making, Wong has made a film about kung fu in its naked self, i.e. in blood, in sweats and in tears (hard work, stamina, suffering, sacrifice and national / world heritage). I prefer the title "Grandmasters" instead of "Grandmaster" as the film is more about an age represented by many martial artists and styles in kung fu depicted and above all in Ip Man (Tony Leung), Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi) and Yixiantian (Zhang Chen). Though in order to make the film shortened from 4 to 2 hours, perhaps significant parts about Yixiantian has been cut out so that the film may look unfinished but the unfinished parts only makes one long for seeing more - its full form.
In martial art, it is always the heart that counts, or in this respect, any kind of arts, inclung of course film art. For filming the Grandmaster, Wong has justified himself a film director with a heart of a grandmaster, not only in China, but also in the world like Ip Man.
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