Friday, October 19, 2007

[World Cinema Series] A Touch of Zen (XIA NÜ)

Continuing the awesome slate of movies to date in the World Cinema Series, A Touch of Zen is possibly the greatest martial arts movie to be made, and this King Hu classic is to be appreciated on the big screen no less. And what more, it's not screened from a DVD, but from 35mm in the original, unabridged version!

As per the series, there will also be a discussion at the end of the movie, and I'm sure there are many who will be hard pressed for time, since it will end about 1040pm on the day of screening. Fret not, for those who are interested in reading up on the movie, and not minding spoilers (since it dissects and dwells in depth into key scenes), I highly recommend you to pick up Stephen Teo's King Hu's A Touch of Zen published by Hong Kong University Press. Yes, it's the very same Stephen who's been invited for the post-screening discussion.

In the book, Stephen brings you on a journey through the classic, with eloquent writing, plenty of well researched background and interesting analysis all rolled into one. I've read it in a record two working days, and am tempted to read it all again. You'll definitely appreciate why A Touch of Zen is a classic in its own right, and probably will respect the movie a lot more after gaining Stephen's enlightenment. For example, did you know the story has its origins from Liao Zhai?

Those who want to be prepared for the movie, can pick up a copy here. But of course if it's too pricey, you can always borrow it from your friendly neighbourhood library.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab the book and get your tickets today, and I'll see you at the movies!

Tuesday 13 November, 7.30pm
Gallery Theatre, National Museum of Singapore

Dir: King Hu
1971 / Taiwan / 187 min / 35 mm / PG
(in Mandarin with English subtitles)

A milestone in martial arts cinema, A Touch of Zen is King Hu’s most acclaimed and ambitious film.

Inspired by the aesthetics of Japanese samurai films, this poetic three-hour epic brought Chinese cinema to new technical and artistic heights, revolutionising the martial arts genre and influencing the works of directors like Tsui Hark (Swordsman II) , Ang Lee (Couching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and John Carpenter (Big Trouble in Little China).

The film tells the story of a poor scholar, Ku Shen Chai whose path crosses with two fugitives, General Shih and an enigmatic lady, Yang Hui Ching. The two are hiding out in an abandoned estate from the corrupt court official, Eunuch Wei. Shen Chai’s interest in military strategy and Hui Ching’s quest to revenge the massacre of her family brings them together in a face–off with Eunuch Wei. They are finally joined by other pugilists and a group of mysterious and powerful Shaolin monks, headed by Abbot Hui (played by veteran actor Roy Chiao), as the film builds up to its seminal and breathtaking final battle scene.

A Touch of Zen has been named as one of Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 Best Films. It also won a special technical award at the Cannes Film Festival and is one of the first Chinese films to gain recognition in the international film festival arena.

A discussion of the film will be led by Stephen Teo. Stephen is a research fellow in the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. He is also the author of Hong Kong Cinema: The Extra Dimensions (1997), Wong Kar-wai (2005), King Hu's A Touch of Zen (2007), and Director in Action: Johnnie To and the Hong Kong Action Film (2007).

Ticketing Information
$8 / $6.40 concession
Free admission for Singapore Film Society members

Counter Sales
Stamford Visitor Services Counter: 10am – 7.30pm
Canning Visitor Services Counter: 10am – 5pm

Online Booking
(click on Online Booking tab at the bottom of the webpage)

Ticketing Information: 6332 3659
General Enquiries: 6332 5642

Patrons are advised that valid identity pass is required for all screenings.

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