In China, during the Ming Dynasty, Gu works as a painter and leads a quiet life with her mother. Until she meets a mysterious young woman, the daughter of a murdered policeman, who’s looked for by some agents that intend to eradicate all traces of her family.
A Touch of Zen is to King Hu’s film career what Once Upon a Time in the West is to Sergio Leone’s: the perfect sum of topics, characteristics and style that define a vision of cinema and the world. In this story about heroism and the foundations of mythology, Hu reaches its peak when it comes to condensation and formal abstraction, transforming bodies, swords and physical spaces into the raw material that builds up a reflection on the pleasure of movement. The scene that closes the first part of the film should be listed among the most beautiful in film history. With its brief running time of three hours, the first Taiwanese film to travel to Cannes has influenced dozens of later directors and films both secretly and openly. Not seeing it in this exquisitely restored version is a deadly sin. DB
D, G: King Hu F: Hua Hui-ying E: King Hu, Wang Chin-chen DA: Chen Shang-lin S: Chang Hua M: Wu Ta-chiang, Lo Ming-tao P: Hsia-wu Liang-fang, Yang Shih-ching PE: Sha Yung-fong CP: Union Film I: Hsu Feng, Shih Chun, Bai Ying
Taiwan Film Institute. Howard Yang T +886 2 2392 2008 E firstname.lastname@example.org W tfi.org.tw