Dir. King Hu
1971, Taiwan, 180 min
Mandarin with English subtitles
In King Hu’s grandest work, Yang (Hsu Feng), a fugitive noblewoman at risk of being captured and executed, hides in a small village and then must escape into the wilderness with a shy scholar and two aides. There, the quartet face a massive group of fighters and are joined by a band of Buddhist monks surprisingly skilled in the art of battle.
For Asian Heritage Month, the Dave Barber Cinematheque presents Dancing Swords: The Wuxia films of King Hu – showcasing five of King Hu’s exhilarating wuxia epics – Dragon Inn (1967), A Touch of Zen (1971), The Fate of Lee Khan (1973), Legend of the Mountain (1979), and Raining in the Mountain (1979). Known for his genre-defining swordplay films that encapsulated breathtaking cinematography, graceful action choreography, enigmatic warrior heroines, densely structured mise-en-scenes, and existential transcendence, we celebrate Hu’s visionary artistry and formal innovations that raised the bar for the wuxia film and influenced the work of contemporary Hong Kong and Taiwanese directors such as Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, and Tsai Ming-liang – whose film Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003) will screen adjacent to Hu’s five film retrospective.
Generously sponsored by IATSE 856 Manitoba.
It has an often awesome visual splendor and places King Hu in the front rank of contemporary filmmakers.
– Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
Stylized slaughter and idyllic scenes of nature get equal time and the photography, matched by effective music, is beautiful, sometimes spectacular, but also voluminous.
– Ernest Leogrande, New York Daily News