NYAFF 2011: Tsui Hark Re-inventing the Swordplay Film

NEW YORK, July 11 – At the Walter Reade Theater, The New York Asia Film Festival screened Tsui Hark’s (徐克) seminal movie the Blade to a packed theater. According to festival co-founder Grady Hendrix, the Golden Harvest Company plans to put the film print into storage indefinitely. Without a current DVD release in print, the film will be difficult to obtain or watch. This was going to be a rare opportunity to view this martial arts masterpiece.

The Blade is the story of two Sharp Foundry sword smiths who are engaged in a deadly feud against local bandits. As the film progresses, it slowly peels back the layers of back story behind each of the character and the foundry itself. The main protagonist is crippled in one of the clashes and loses an arm. He would eventually develop a one armed sword style to combat the vile thugs. The conflict slowly builds into a crescendo of lightning quick swordplay and a series of acrobatic fight sequences.

During the question-and-answer portion, Hark discussed his approach to the film and the wǔxiá genre as a whole. Realizing the overly used tropes in martial arts films, he talked about adopting a documentary visual style as well as a realistic approach to the choreography.

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