New Anthology Film With Top HK Directors

by Koray on April 6, 2015 · 0 comments in Buddhist Blog

A new anthology film was recently announced by Media Asia entertainment; a project that aims to tell stories of Hong Kong’s history as interpreted by eight of the country’s most famous and important directors. Each of the filmmakers will be responsible for one segment of the film focusing on a specific era. Among the talented directors tapped for this unique venture are John Woo, Tsui Hark, Ann Hui, Ringo Lam, and martial arts cinema legends Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping.

Ann Hui, a filmmaker known for movies which focus on social and political issues, like STORY OF WU VIET (1981), BOAT PEOPLE (1982), and ORDINARY HEROES (1999), will handle the 1940’s era of Hong Kong.

Starting early in his career with DANGEROUS ENCOUNTERS OF THE 1ST KIND (1980, aka. Don’t Play With Fire), Tsui Hark has created many films involving government revolution and political change, often equal parts action-adventure, comedy, and drama. He explored these themes throughout the ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA films (directing, and or producing from 1991-1997), PEKING OPERA BLUES (1986), and even his two recent Detective Dee films-DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME (2010) and YOUNG DETECTIVE DEE: RISE OF THE SEA DRAGON (2013, HK, aka. Detective Dee: The Prequel)- had elements of political intrigue, so his involvement makes perfect sense.

Though John Woo may be best known for his heroic bloodshed films like THE KILLER (1989), HARD BOILED (1992), and A BETTER TOMORROW (1986), he is no stranger to films with strong political sentiments. 1990’s BULLET IN THE HEAD depicted the harsh realities of the late sixties Hong Kong in which he grew up, with student protest and allusions to the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen square. It became his most personal film, and proved that he is every bit as capable of creating socially conscious films on politics and war as he is at doing action-packed gangster stories.

Perhaps most interesting to fans of martial arts cinema is the inclusion of Sammo Hung and Yuen Woo Ping on the roster. Sammo has previously been involved as an actor in more serious fare like 8 TAELS OF GOLD, playing a struggling  Chinese immigrant, and PAINTED FACES (1988), based on his own real-life Peking opera teacher and the hardships of his upbringing at the school. What Sammo will focus on for his own section of the anthology remains to be seen, but he is no stranger to dramatic period pieces having directed, starred in and choreographed the classic PEDICAB DRIVER (1989).

Yuen Woo-Ping’s directorial efforts have all been either modern day martial arts action or period kung fu, often containing strong humorous elements, so which era he will focus on in HK’s history will be interesting to see. But it would certainly be nice if Hung and Yuen, as men who helped make it happen, could depict the events behind the ’70s Kung Fu boom in the region.

For more info on the project and a complete list o the directors involved check out this link:

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