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

Director: Chang Cheh

The Magnificent Trio (Bian Cheng San Xia) Hong Kong

Desperate to escape oppressive conditions, a group of farmers kidnap the daughter of corrupt Ming dynasty magistrate Wei Huaiyan. Living under Wei's iron first has driven them to these extreme measures and they soon earn the sympathy of a trio of formidable swordsmen who bring their extraordinary skills to the struggle.

With a premise similar to that of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, this Chang Cheh film is focused on a local conflict rather than a broad historical epic involving warlords and vast armies. Bold and exuberant, The Magnificent Trio pioneered the use of slow motion in 1966, which Hollywood would soon embrace as its own creation. You might even recognise elements of the title sequence from Reservoir Dogs.

The colourful cast includes Fu superstars Jimmy Wang Yu, Cheng Lui and Lo Lieh, as the three fighters for justice, as well as Fanny Fan, and Chin Ping as the magistrate's daughter who ultimately sees through her father's nefarious scheming.

'Film is a reflection of life. Violence exists in life and is reflected in films' the marriage of my yang gang, passionate rebellious style, and violence is not something I'm ashamed of. At the end of the day it's sincerity that matters, not showy spectacles.' -Chang Cheh

D/S Chang Cheh P Run Run Shaw WS Celestial Pictures Ltd L Mandarin w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/1966/103mins

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