The martial arts films of the highly influential film director King Hu (1931-1997) lifted Chinese cinema to new technical and artistic heights. The Taiwan Film Institute 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.
A few of King Hu’s films have recently been digitally restored in 4K resolution by the Taiwan Film Institute 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).
A number of noted filmmakers have paid tribute to the work of King Hu. Tsai Ming-liang made Goodbye, Dragon Inn in 2003, a film set in the final hours of an old cinema in Taipei that is about to close down and shows King Hu’s sword-fighting classic Dragon Inn. Two veteran actors who played in Hu’s original film also star in Tsai's film. More recently, the Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke paid homage to Hu with his film A Touch of Sin (2013). Both films are also screened by EYE.
The King Hu-programme at EYE is made possible by:
Centre Culturel de Taiwan à Paris
Taipei Representative Office in the Netherlands
Taiwan Cinema Toolkit
Taiwan Film Institute
Monday, 25 Jun 2018
16:0025 Jun 2018
Tuesday, 26 Jun 2018
15:1526 Jun 2018
From A to Z
filmTu Chung-hsun , 1970
filmJia Zhangke-ke, CN 2013
filmKing Hu, 1970
filmKing Hu, 1967
filmHu King, Lee Hsing, Li Han-hsiang, Pai Ching-jui, 1970
filmTsai Ming-liang , 2003
filmKing Hu, 1979