Dead End ★★★½

So Chang Cheh made a straight-up New Wave film, full of class anxiety and only a little fighting. In Ti Lung's debut he plays a young clerk who can never make it past the probation period of his various jobs, but he dreams big. He's so cool, he has to smoke two cigarettes at the same time ("Double the pleasure", he explains without affect). The opening sequence is a tour de force, as Ti types his insurance forms at hyper speed and then relaxes in slow motion, Chang cuts between shots of office workers running through Hong Kong (motion slightly sped up) while Ti imagines the good life of the rich (poolside relaxation, lawn bowling, motion slightly slowed down).

The plot is rote: Ti dates a rich girl, her family doesn't like it, a gang of toughs intervenes, it ends badly. But the deliberate pace, flashes of formal experimentation and the almost complete lack of fight scenes in favor of Ti's angst mark Chang as more than a mere director of formula kung fu, but a true contemporary of New Wave 60s and 70s directors from around the world.