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Hong Kong Cinema

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Hong Kong Cinema

The Chinese art form I've chosen to write about is film, with an emphasis on Hong Kong Cinema. I enjoy movies, in particular action films. Hong Kong Cinema has produced some of the best action films I have ever seen. I will discuss three Hong Kong Action genres, Martial Arts films, the Kung Fu Comedies and the Triad films.

My first experience with Hong Kong Cinema came in the 1970s with Martial Arts films. Martial arts, emphasizes self-strengthening, therapeutic exercise, and performance.2 Within the Chinese theater martial arts combined with music, dance, and acrobatics is very important.2 Martial Art films have their roots in the Wong Fei Hong Films.1 Wong Fei Hong was a real life martial artist and doctor of the late Qing Dynasty and early Republican China.1 Actor Kwan Tah-Hing, portrayed Wong Fei Hong in 62 films between 1949 and 1959.2 This type of film was referred as Wu Xia Pian (chivalrous combat film).2 These were sword and sorcerer features with elements of fantasy.1 The Wu Xia films gave way to the Kung Fu films of the 70s. The films of Bruce Lee were what my generation was first exposed. Arguably China's first international superstar, Lee only appeared in 4 feature films before his death.1 As a skilled martial artist, Lee's ability to fuse various martial art techniques sparked a new trend in unarmed combat martial arts films from China.1

A genre closely related to the Martial Art films is the Kung Fu Comedy. The Kung Fu Comedy is seeded in the Peking Opera.1 Kung Fu Comedy features a style of fighting more acrobatic and performance oriented.2 Movies of Jackie Chan fall in this category. Originally groomed as a Bruce Lee clone, Chan obtained success under the films of famed action cinematographer and director, Yuen Woo Ping. The film Drunken Master starring Chan showcased the blend of physical comedy and kung fu action that typifies the genre.1 I feel Chan's daredevil acting style is reminiscent of silent film star Harold Lloyd. Recently, Kung Fu comedy has taken on elements of special effects as seen in the popular films directed by Stephen Chow, Kung Fu Hustle, and, one of the funniest films I have ever seen, Shaolin Soccer. The effects seen in these films are cutting edge and rival that of big budget Hollywood productions.

Finally there are the "Triad" films. Triads are the gangsters of China.1 These films are by no means everyone's cup of tea, however I feel the style deserves to be mentioned as it is the Chinese equivalent to the American gangster film. Triad films have been described as being beautifully violent.1 They are stylized



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