As a culture writer, a Chinese person, and a comics nerd, I’ve had a deep interest in the character of Shang-Chi, and the way he has been used over the last half century. I’ve written about him in the build up to Marvel’s first Asian led movie, but now that I have seen the film, and had a chance to really digest it, I’ve got a lot to discuss.
Posted in Commentary and tagged china, Chinese, cinema, comics, culture, film, Ghost Month, kungfu, Mandarin, Marvel, MCU, reaction, Shang-chi, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, wushu, Wuxia
As China began exporting its movies in the 70s and 80s, a cult of fandom grew around the kungfu and action films. From “36 Chambers of Shaolin” to “City on fire”, these films made a deep impression on young American filmmakers-to-be, most obviously Quentin Taratino, who took heavy Inspiration from these films for “Reservoir Dogs” and “Kill Bill”. However, inspiration between vibrant creative cultures becomes a conversation, and those elements Tarantino borrowed, were absorbed by a new generation of filmmakers in China, including Jia Zhangke. Jia has had an interesting career. Starting off making mockumentary-style films about petty criminals and China’s disaffected youth, and now having reached such critical acclaim that he has over 100 international awards and nominations. His films still deal with how ordinary people’s lives were affected by China’s rapid social change, and “A Touch of Sin” brings many of his themes together, to tell stories about outcasts and misfits, in a manner more akin to traditional Chinese storytelling. (First delivered for the Spring Festival screening at Genesis, London, 2019).
Posted in Blog2 and tagged A Touch of Sin, china, Chinese, culture, film, Jia Zhangke, Wuxia
Jin Yong, one of the greatest Chinese writers of the twentieth century, passed away earlier this week on Tuesday the 30th of October. Aged 94, he died of organ failure after battling long-term illness, at the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital.
Posted in Commentary and tagged china, Chinese, culture, Jin Yong, literature, novel, Wuxia
As one of the major directors in Chinese cinema, any new work of Tsui Hark’s is exciting news, let alone any work released outside China and Chinese-speaking regions. As relatively more Chinese films make their way to Western cinemas, some top-bill Wuxia titles are now sharing the summer slot with Hollywood Blockbusters. This summer sees the global release of “Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings”, the third film in Judge Dee series (after “Mystery of the Phantom Flame” and “Rise of the Sea Dragon”), produced by renown and award-winning producer Nansun Shi (Infernal Affairs, Seven Swords, Chinese Ghost Story). Five years would have given this film considerable build-up, especially after the second one, which, despite the bold steps it took, was by far the weaker of the two.
Posted in Commentary and tagged china, Chinese, cinema, culture, Detective Dee, film, pop culture, review, Tsui Hark, Wuxia
The Chinese Lunar calendar doesn’t always match up with ours, and our festivals hardly ever overlap. Whilst the West gets all its gruesome ghosts and ghouls taking centre stage at the end of October, the biggest festival of the dead in China takes place half way through the seventh lunar month. This friday saw the end of Zhong Yuan (or Ghost Month http://snowpavilion.co.uk/zhong-yuan-ghost-month/), and to celebrate, here’s a review of 2015’s big fantasy monster movie, released internationally (but not in the UK yet) in August.
Posted in Commentary and tagged Attack on Titan, Bingbing Li, china, Chinese, cinema, culture, demon, demon slayer, DevilMan, fantasy, film, Frozen, Ghost Month, horror, Kun Chen, Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, monster, Peter Pau, Shaw Brothers, Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal, Tsui Hark, Wuxia, Zhang Ji Zhong, Zhong Kui, Zhong Yuan