This series of inhumanly acrobatic tales of heroines, heroes, honor and ethics showcases the best of the famous Shaw Brothers production company’s output from 1966–1972.
If you’ve never seen Hong Kong martial arts cinema of the ’60s and ’70s on the big screen, this is an opportunity to be treasured – few films offer this much in one sitting! Elegant shot composition, costumes, and choreography gild these restored classics with a silken finish. Marvel at visions of natural and constructed splendor, film editing that deftly skips from mannered, quiet staging, to hyperkinetic action, and the breathtaking precision and complexity of martial artists dancing in tandem with camera operators.
Programmed by Amanda Salazar with Paul Siple and Morgan Akana
More about Shaw Brothers Studio
By 1957, Shaw Brothers Ltd. had maneuvered its way from a movie-theater business in pre-revolutionary Shanghai into a globally dominating, vertically integrating film factory. Incorporating action choreography extracted from the acrobatic stagecraft of Peking Opera into every filmic genre (most famously for the unrestrained wuxia film), Shaw Studios created an entirely new film language – something David Bordwell calls a “kinetic arousal of silent-cinema technique.” Heavily stylized aesthetics, awe-inspiring athletic feats, craftily edited camera movement, vivid color and melodrama galore flowed together into perfectly spectacular popular entertainment.
Between their production facilities’ move to Hong Kong in 1957, the introduction of anamorphic lenses, the shifting of permissible standards concerning sex and violence, and the Shaw studio’s knack for genre fusion, they firmly established themselves as the premier source of filmed entertainment in China. At its prolific peak, the studio was producing roughly forty titles a year. By 1970, wuxia swordplay films were the cornerstone of the studio’s output, mixing formal elegance with elements of pulp, fantasy, and exploitation.
The clamorous fanfare and drums that accompany the studio’s logo (cheekily lifted from the Warners) act as a clarion call to action film aficionados to buckle up and brace themselves for another bold, beautiful, and occasionally bizarre foray into the fantastic. Newcomers to kung fu and die-hard genre-heads, we entreat you to join us and discover four of your new favorite films: Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan (1972), Come Drink with Me (1966), Golden Swallow (1968), and One-Armed Swordsman (1967).
Description courtesy of Morgan Akana
Series sponsored by the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington
Learn more about CIWA’s programs to enrich local engagement with Chinese language and culture at their website
Co-presented with Grand Illusion Cinema
G.I. members receive the NWFF member rate at our martial arts screenings, and vice versa! They’ll be showing two wonderful Sammo Hung flicks from Golden Harvest after our Shaw Bros series: Blade of Fury (Jan. 30, Feb. 1 & 3) and Pedicab Driver (Feb. 6, 8, 10 & 14). NWFF members receive the G.I. member rate for both shows.