Touch of Zen Part 1

The first half of Touch of Zen was a definite upgrade in quality compared to King Hu’s earlier works. Despite having minimal funds and restricted access to location, he made due and set yet another groundwork for fighting scenes and locations. I’ll start with one criticism I had, and that is the lack of action in certain parts of the film. While I understand there is an importance in minimalism, you must balance it out with length or risk losing the attention of the audience. The part that stood out to me was when the main character investigated the sounds coming from the Fort next door. It started off well but seemed to drag on with minimal vision which led to lack of attention. However, the film was not weighed down by this one scene alone. With the amazing cinematography during the battle in the bamboo forest, the scene prior was easily compensated. The scene was so well put together with every little detail being accounted for. The bamboo trees, the fog, and the atmosphere and lighting made it impressively entertaining and dramatic. Another thing I noticed is King Hu actually gave background for the characters. While in his prior films, they included many characters that played a limited role with no backstory just action. Yang has several flashbacks of her and her father that leads up to where she currently is and even the artist is given a story whenever his mother speaks poorly of him. These simple additions to his film has made it more captivating and gives the audience a better relationship with the characters we are focusing on throughout the film.

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