China Insight Series: Chinese Movies 2-1

The Insight Series from 2014 continues into 2015! This series introduces excellent Chinese movies and encourages movie appreciation with focused themes.

Our series consists of four themes: Chinese History, Chinese Kung Fu, Chinese Cartoons, and China Today. For each theme, three movies will be introduced.

For the first theme, Chinese History, we will introduce: The Founding of A Republic, City of Life and Death, and Red Cliff.

For the second theme, Chinese Kung Fu, we will introduce: The Grandmaster, Hero, and Reign of Assassins.

The Grandmaster

The Grandmaster is a 2013 Hong Kong-Chinese martial arts drama film based on the life story of the Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man. The film was directed and written by Wong Kar-wai and stars Tony Leung as Ip Man. It was released on 8 January 2013 in China. The film was nominated for Best Cinematography (Philippe Le Sourd) and Best Costume Design (William Chang Suk Ping) at the 86th Academy Awards.

The film chronicles the life of the Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, also spelt as Yip Man, from the 1930s in Foshan, his flight to Hong Kong after the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the events leading to his death.

Ip Man was a Chinese martial artist. He had several students who later became martial arts teachers in their own right, including Bruce Lee. "Don't tell me how good your skills are, how brilliant your master is and how profound your school is," Ip Man explained his view on kung fu. "Kung fu: two words. One horizontal, one vertical -- if you're wrong, you'll be left lying down. If you're right, you're left standing -- and only the ones who stand have the right to talk."

The main actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai (as Ip Man) was born in Hong Kong. He was the winner of Cannes Film Festival for Best Actor for his role in Wong Kar-wai's film In the Mood for Love. Leung is also a seven-time winner of Hong Kong Film Award and three-time winner of Golden Horse Film Awards.

The main actress Ziyi Zhang (as Gong Er), is a Chinese actress and model. She is considered one of the Four Dan Actresses of China. She achieved fame in the West after leading roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Rush Hour 2 (2001), Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004), 2046 (2004), and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). She has been nominated for three BAFTA Awards and a Golden Globe Award.

Main Characters

  • Ip Man, the Grandmater
  • Gong Er, the daughter of a Kung Fu Grandmaster
  • Cheung Wing-sing, Ip Man's wife
  • "The Razor" Yixiantian, another Kung Fu master, who was parallel with Ip man but later became a barber and was also a spy
  • Ding Lianshan, a Manchurian Kung Fu Master and also a leader of an anti-Japanese resistance force

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