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Archive for category 'martial arts'

Wuxia Masks: On Come Drink With Me and the Beijing Opera

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In a 1984 interview with Charles Tesson in Les Cahiers du Cinéma, Hu made a pretty surprising statement when discussing Come Drink With Me:"I didn't want to use real martial arts what we call real kung-fu. I had seen it in tournaments, I didn't find it very beautiful and I didn't understand a thing about it; as a matter of fact, I still don't." The question practically asks itself: how could a man with no interest in martial arts revolutionize martial arts cinema? The fact of the matter is, Hu never saw the martial arts in his films solely as "action"; for him, to have "action" occur on the screen was not enough to make a film an action movie. The kung-fu in Come Drink With Me (and in his later Wuxia films like Dragon Gate Inn and A Touch Of Zen) was never conceived as actual confrontation, but as dance, performance. In fact, the action in the film(s) is choreographed to the performing style of Beijing Opera and the rhythm and beat of its orchestral score (a score mainly performed by traditional instruments from Opera, the wailing flute and the Chinese tempo-drums).

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