Dragon Inn (Lóng Mén Kè Zhàn, 1967)

Director/Screenwriter: King Hu By Roderick Heath King Hu was born Hu Jinquan in Beijing in 1932. Scion of a prominent and prosperous family, Hu nonetheless was borne along with a generation displaced by war and political upheaval, and washed up in Hong Kong when still a teenager in 1949. After working for a decade in …

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The Assassin (Nie yin niang, 2015)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Hsiao-Hsien Hou By Roderick Heath Hsiao-Hsien Hou is one of the greatest living filmmakers, and also one of the most rarefied. A visual poet of the highest order, Taiwan-based Hou has nonetheless avoided most of the tendencies of other rapturously cinematic filmmakers, preferring to make quiet, intimately textured dramas that often barely count as …

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Spring in a Small Town (1948)

Director: Mu Fei By Roderick Heath When we think of Chinese cinema, the dashing products of Hong Kong’s industrious studios or the works of the so-called Fifth Generation of mainland filmmakers like Yimou Zhang or Kaige Chen probably come to mind first. The great flowering of filmmaking seen in the 1930s and ’40s known as …

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The Grandmaster (Yi dai zong shi, 2013)

Director/Coscreenwriter: Wong Kar-Wai By Roderick Heath (This essay is on the Chinese version, not the international cut.) Wong Kar-Wai’s return to cinema screens after a lengthy fallow phase carries huge expectations for a man who, alongside John Woo and Zhang Yimou, is arguably the most reputed Chinese-language filmmaker worldwide. Wong gained his stature in international …

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A Chinese Ghost Story (Sien Nui Yau Wan, 1987) / A Chinese Ghost Story II (Yan Gaan Do, 1990)

The Days of High Adventure: A Journey through Adventure Film Director: Tony Siu-Tung Ching By Roderick Heath Deep within the tangled growth of a dark forest lies an ancient ruin, a place where lost or weary travellers might find a place to rest for the night. But in the glow of moonlight, a mysterious and …

Continue reading A Chinese Ghost Story (Sien Nui Yau Wan, 1987) / A Chinese Ghost Story II (Yan Gaan Do, 1990)

The Bride with White Hair (1993) / The Bride with White Hair 2 (1994)

Bai fa mo nu zhuan ; Bai fa mo nu zhuan II Directors: Ronnie Yu ; David Wu By Roderick Heath Yusheng Liang, who died in 2009, is credited as one of the writers who modernised the wu xia novel, the imperishably popular Chinese mythological pulp genre. One of his most iconic works, The Bride …

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Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (San suk san geen hap, 1983)

Director: Tsui Hark By Roderick Heath Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain made the reputation of director Tsui Hark, and in so doing, redefined the wu xia genre, the staple of Hong Kong cinema. Hark had shortly before gotten in trouble with the governing authorities with his politically minded Violent Encounters of the First Kind …

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