End of an Era

1.) Before taking this class, I was lacking in knowledge when it came to the martial arts genre. In my past, I probably watched one or two films relating to Chinese history, let alone martial arts. However, over the last several months, I more than tripled that amount and am glad to have been able to learn so much about the pioneer of the martial arts genre. King Hu started from nothing, just a painter turned actor and pressed onward in the search of greater things. I don’t believe there was a single moment in his life that he wasn’t struggling, but that didn’t prevent him from becoming a greater director and progressing in the film industry in not only China, but around the world.

2.) My personal favorite films:

Fate of Lee Khan: First time the villain was shown early and overall the entire film seemed quite organized compared to his earlier films.

Valiant Ones: He used checkers as a tool rather than just a game and this one of his first personally produced films.

Raining in the Mountain: His first best organized film with a complete plot and interesting story-line.

3.) My least favorite films:

Dragon Inn: Over-extended fight scenes seemed to drag on and took away from the limted plot.

Come Drink With Me: Though memorable, it was quite choppy and was low in quality of production.

Sons of Good Earth: Hard to understand plot and confusing character list but is understandable at an early stage in directing.

4.)  “Six degrees of King Hu” is a phrase I will never forget. More than fifty years ago, martial arts genre films were practically nonexistent. Within several decades, King Hu pioneered a pathway for other directors and artists to follow. He cultivated the foundation for martial arts films despite struggling with every aspect of his career. While he is directly responsible for the results of a successful industry in China, he is also indirectly responsible for the success of his actors and aspiring directors under him. His effects left ripples worldwide in the film industry that many would follow to this day. Winning awards at Cannes film festival, King Hu was both humble and proud. He knew what he was doing was changing the way the world viewed film and how the Chinese film industry was expanding. There is so much to say about such an amazing director that it is quite disappointing that more people do not know who he is or was. We take for granted the genre films we have around us but never know where they originated. King Hu was one of the first creators of martial arts films which indirectly affects a majority of people in one way or another, however they will never know of his existence, which I feel is quite sad.


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