Thursday, October 1, 2015
Why you should see A TOUCH OF ZEN at the New York Film Festival 10/5
Female fugitive on the run is pursued by the agents of the men who killed her family. Hooking up with a painter and a monk she struggles to get revenge
When King Hu made A TOUCH OF ZEN I doubt very much he thought he was changing the world forever. I'm very serious, for better or worse changed the world.
Quite simply A TOUCH OF ZEN is the film that pretty much codified the historical wu xia film as we know it. All of those films from the 1970's and 80's came from this film. There is a through line or at least a dividing line, films before and films after. You have real settings, characters that re more than cartoons, fights that enhance the plot, and the film was technically a notch above everything else. It upped the ante and showed everyone what could be done. People copied it and in so doing started to revamp a genre that would influence culture the world over.
Yes I know that this is a wild over simplification, so don't send me nasty letters. I'm trying to get people to go and see it not to provide the be all and end all historical record.
The film is a trip... and it's also really long. The film is 200 minutes. Its a breezy 200 minutes so don't worry.
If you've never seen this you need to make an effort to do so....but don't beat yourself up if you can't do it at the NYFF. Normally I would twist your arm and tell you to go see it but the screening is at 9PM which means you won't be out of the film until 1230 on a Monday night.
On the plus side the restoration is being released by Janus films so hopefully the film will get wide release and a Criterion special edition.
The film plays October 5. For tickets and more information go here.