All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
Come Drink with Me
Cheng Pei-pei plays Golden Swallow, a fighter-for-hire who has been contracted by the local government to retrieve the governor's kidnapped son. Holding him is a group of rebels who are demanding that their leader be released from prison in return for the captured son. After a brief encounter with the gang at a local restaurant, Golden Swallow is joined by an inebriated wanderer Drunken Cat (Yueh Hua) who aids her in her mission.
The best wuxia pic from King Hu. Those of you looking for blood won't be disappointed. This is one tough and ruthless film. But it also contains a certain kind of grace, thanks to Hu's mastery of spacial dynamics during the action sequences. Hu's said that he deliberately chose a ballet dancer (Cheng Pei Pei) for the lead role and it's easy to see why. Thankfully, Hu's doesn't undermine her skills with rapid-fire editing like a novice would. Many of the action shots are longer than what we've become accustomed to watching and contain much more beautifully choreographed movements. And unlike some of his other films such as Touch of Zen, Hu doesn't burden the narrative. Everything is crisp and there's no extra fat. A masterpiece!
The action staging is to die for. The whole universe zings and hums in the long takes as they clank by in incendiary bursts. The feel of it is perfect: graceful slashes of motion, perfect pure flashes of cinema/music/poetry.
Golden Swallow is incredible. Not only does King Hu grant us a iron tough female warrior with a scowl that could peel the flesh off faces, but he grants us a small army of woman warriors. I find this so incredible. We've seen such a push for diverse representation in media in recent years, it's stunning and a bit of a cuff to the collective ear to beam Cheng Pei Pei from '66 into now. THIS.…
I can't say it better than Claire did (where are you come back), but I would add my voice to hers (and so many others). It has what I want from action films (clear, graceful action), and it has what I want from films (beautiful visuals, bright scenery, long takes, dynamics). It has bags of style (look at how Sparrow and her companions dress, holy shit I am jealous). It feels epic despite being a normal length film (the classic 90ish minutes), because everything that happens has grandeur to it, drawn out in costumes, landscapes, and extended shots.
It's a simple tale but not a bad one; characters have their own stories and these weave into one tight little narrative.…
Another great wuxia flick from Hu. It seems pretty obvious to say that the best action directors are the ones that have a real sense of spatial dynamics, but it ought to be emphasised in Hu's case. It's noticeable, especially in the inn scenes towards the start, that he had 'deliberately chosen a ballet dancer for the lead female role', Cheng Pei-pei is brilliant, such bold yet graceful movements met with the rapid-fire editing cutting to and from faces and swords clashing in an almost ruthless dance of metal. Narratively, this hardly flows as smoothly as Touch of Zen but that has nearly three hours to sort everything out; this manages to set-up a story of politics, kidnapping, and Kung Fu in about half the time and does so pretty nicely too. One or two false endings make the real finale seem all the more claustrophobic and bloody, I mean, really bloody. Ruthless, indeed.
There's the ending, and then the ending after the ending. And then there's the ending after the ending that undermines the other two endings by trying to play the moral of the film both ways by espousing the rejection of bloody vengeance, but giving the audience the violent thrill anyway. This is the central theme of the era of the genre this film initiated: the conflict between the moral imperative for forgiveness and the just demand for revenge, oft-dramatized as a conflict between Confucian filial piety (respect for one's father/master/family demands vengeance on their behalf) and the Buddhist and Taoist belief in the cyclical nature of violence, that only by withdrawing from worldly concerns can the circle be broken. The moral and the bloody, the spiritual and the earthly, the desire to enlighten and the need to entertain.
Part of my Scavenger Hunt #2 list. Task:
26. A film from the wuxia genre!
Considered the first Wuxia film and being totally missed by my weak old Kung Fu flick radar, until recently. And it's always such a delight when you come across such a awesome movie with a woman in the lead. A woman who knows how to handle a sword, daggers and chopsticks. She befriends a man in a rather peculiar way. The Drunken Cat, they call him, a charming man, but not the drunken master type that you could wish for. I'm not saying he's bad, but there's no Jackie Chan moments, if you understand what I mean, but it's rumored that one of those small…
This early Shaw Brothers work looks great, while (from my limited viewings) their later efforts became set-bound, here they film in real settings, giving the movie room to breathe.
The story itself, contrary to the synopsis (as I understood it) sees a girl, Golden Swallow, trying to rescue her brother using her mad kung fu skills, from some bandits who have kidnapped him to obtain the release of their leader who has been captured and is being held by the local Governor (the father of Golden Swallow and her brother). Follow me so far?
Although she seems highly capable (like I said she's got mad skills), unbeknownst to her, she is being watched over by Drunken Cat who appears to…
So this is where Martial Arts movies began? It was pretty simple plot, but it was very well done, although I enjoyed The 36th Chamber a lot more. Oh and the fact that this film cast a female lead was pretty cool, this Shaw Brothers film apparently inspired Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which is probably my favorite of the genre so it's worth watching.
Martial Arts film from director King Hu who later did Dragons Inn and A Touch of Zen. It follows a woman soldier who is sent to negotiate a trade for her captured brother in return for a convicted brother to a dangerous group of outlaws, as she receives help from an unlikely disgraced drunken man.
Unlike Five Fingers of Death, which I reviewed last week, Come Drink With Me is a bit more mature and a more serious work, despite some fantastical elements, the entire film is more grounded and overall less cartoonish, but unlikes Hu's Dragons Inn, it feels like a less confident piece of work. Don't get me wrong, the film is easily and swiftly set up, and…
This was great. As plain and simple as that. Everything in it was great. Not perfect though. Just great. The drunks, the fighting, the acting - ooohh, the acting, the all female fighting team... It all made me happy. And it was great. Cheng Pei-pei is an elegant badass.
Great choreography and some interesting locations (and backgrounds in studios!). It was just a shame about the more fantastical stuff towards the end. And the singing children.
King Hu makes wuxia films like the Archers made dramas.
Structurally, this is a rather odd film, with the protagonist of the film shifting from one character to another halfway through and a whole new conflict being introduced. Still, the film works for the most part, and it is hard to dislike a film where martial arts masters can suddenly start summoning hurricanes to help them in a fight.
I really enjoyed the use of music to highlight the characters movements and action.
The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts…
Movies with either a feminist message, feminist elements, or what I will call relative feminism, which is to say, given…