Restored King Hu classics screened at Eye

A Touch of Zen (King Hu, 1970)

4 May 2018

The martial arts films of the highly influential film director King Hu (1931-1997) lifted Chinese cinema to new technical and artistic heights. The Taipei Film Archive has recently restored three major works by King Hu, which were previously presented at the Film Festivals of Cannes (Dragon Inn and A Touch of Zen) and Venice (Legend of the Mountain). These superb restorations are now screened at Eye.

King Hu set the standard for the martial arts film with his graceful fights, magnificent nature shots and stunning sword fights. One of the best known action films by Hu (1931-1997) is A Touch of Zen, which became a milestone in the martial arts genre through its remarkable editing and photography. It was the first title in the wuxiu genre to gain international recognition. Filmmakers like Ann Hui, John Woo and Tsui Hark are great admirers of Hu’s work and would later expand the stylistic innovations he introduced.

A Touch of Zen won the Technical Grand Prize award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975 – the duel in the bamboo forest became a classical scene and not without reason. Legend of the Mountain (1979) won de Best Director and Best Art Direction awards at the 16th Golden Horse Awards. Dragon Inn (1967) was another box office hit that was of major influence on cinema.

astonishing restorations

A few of King Hu’s films have recently been digitally restored in 4K resolution by the Taipei Film Archive and the distinguished Italian laboratory L'Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna. The astonishing result can now be admired at EYE. Hu’s films previously circulated in worn 16mm prints or inferior quality videos. EYE’s programme includes Dragon Inn (1967, restored in 2014), A Touch of Zen (1969, restored in 2015) and Legend of the Mountain (1979, restored in 2016).

  • Dragon Inn (King Hu, 1967)

  • Legend of the Mountain (King Hu, 1979)

  • A Touch of Zen (King Hu, 1970)

Verschillende bekende regisseurs brachten een eerbetoon aan het werk van King Hu. Zo maakte Tsai Ming-liang in 2003 Goodbye, Dragon Inn, die zich afspeelt tijdens de laatste uren van een oude bioscoop in Taipei die op het punt staat te sluiten, en de zwaardvechtsklassieker Dragon Inn van King Hu vertoont. In Tsai's film zijn ook twee oude acteurs te zien die in de originele film van Hu speelden. En recenter bracht ook de Chinese regisseur Jia Zhang-ke met zijn film A Touch of Sin (2013) een eerbetoon aan Hu. Beide films zijn ook in Eye te zien.

Bekijk het volledige programma

Alle films zijn Engels ondertiteld, behalve Goodbye, Dragon Inn en A Touch of Sin, deze zijn Nederlands ondertiteld.

Het King Hu-programma in Eye is mede mogelijk gemaakt door Centre Culturel de Taiwan à Paris, Taipei Representative Office in the Netherlands, Taiwan Cinema Toolkit en Taiwan Film Institute.