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Hong Kong, 2004 (MIFF 2004, Hidden Hero The Films of Chang Cheh)

Director: Chang Cheh

The Blood Brothers (Ci Ma) Hong Kong

'a tragic, romantic, blood-soaked martial arts tale of revenge that explores one of the most sensational scandals in Chinese history and marked the ascension of its director and actors to superstar status. Epic martial arts films do not get any better than this. Chang Cheh assembled three of Shaw's top martial arts actors to star in a magnificent work featuring incredible action in a sweeping story of passion and betrayal. '

Ching dynasty China was a time when rebels and bandits plagued the land. Brothers Chang and Huang Chung are skilled highwaymen with little ambition outside of filling their bellies'until they befriend (while trying to rob him!) Ma Hsing. His leadership skills and daring allow the brothers to move up the criminal ladder. They part ways but are reunited years later, by which time Ma has become a corrupt, power-hungry general. Told in flashback, the film recounts the sordid events leading to Ma's assassination by his closest friend.

'The film is lavishly photographed. The interior sets are strikingly detailed as are the costumes. Some people think that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the first kung-fu film to mix great production values and fight choreography with a fantastic story. The Blood Brothers did it years earlier.'

D Chang Cheh P Run Run Shaw S Chang Cheh, Ni Kuang WS Celestial Pictures Ltd L Mandarin w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/1973/118mins

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