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

Director: Chang Cheh

One-Armed Swordsman (Du Bi Dao) Hong Kong

'Opens in dramatic fashion, with an assault on a martial arts school, and after that it never lets the viewer go.'

Fang (Jimmy Wang Yu in the role that made his career) is a gifted pupil at Qi's martial arts school. Fang loses his right arm in a suspicious 'accident' then falls from a bridge. He is believed dead by all, but is secretly saved by Hsiao Man, who restores him to health, falls in love and gives Fang her dead father's fighting manual for special left-handed techniques. Meanwhile, Qi's arch enemy, Long-Armed Devil, plots to destroy him, his students and his school'

One-Armed Swordsman is a key transitional film between the old school wuxia swordplay picture and what we now think of as the modern kung fu movie. It created a revolution in the genre; even in its visual details the film announced the arrival of a new kind of hero.

'Chang's approach to bloodshed was, if not quite revolutionary, surely unlike any other director's before him and it is a large part of his legacy.' -senses of Cinema

'Whether director Chang was familiar with his contemporary Sergio Leone or not, One-Armed Swordsman has the dramatic feel of the Italian filmmaker. He also maintains a strong pace with a gift for narration typical of Akira Kurosawa. Its final resolution remains startling.'

D Chang Cheh P Run Run Shaw S Chang Cheh, Ni Kuang WS Celestial Pictures Ltd L Mandarin w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/1967/111mins

See also...


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