wuxia-movie

So sorry for sudden Chinese film screenshots on your dash if you’re following me

Sometimes I find it hard to relate to some hang-ups that my Western friends have, and really it’s just because of the very different upbringing and culture, and I think it’s best exemplified in this movie franchise that got real popular during my growing years - A Chinese Ghost Story (yes, that’s really the franchise name)

In this movie, we have a ghost lady and a young Taoist priest love story,

a demonhunter who is sometimes drunk

and an androgynous tree demon who’s trying to eat the Taoist priest and/or the ghost lady, I can’t remember

who is played by a man but being a tree, the idea there is no gender.

Now I need to emphasize this. This is just one of the kind of wuxia and folkloric movies I grew up with, it’s in fact one of the most basic (love story framing device, a single demon + the hapless protagonist).

But are they demonizing transgender/non-gendered people?

NO. The tree demon is androgynous because it’s a tree demon. Like in our reasoning, trees don’t have a set gender, they are more than likely both. We, as in the non-mainland Chinese who still actually know our folklore, treat elemental demons as androgynous. There’s another wuxia movie where there are a pair of wind demons okay? They are a couple, and they did get a pair of male and female actors to play them, but both their voices are distorted and both have very affected mannerisms. They are androgynous and elemental, gender don’t mean shit, they just manifest like that to mortals.

And about animal demons and spirits. I grew up with stories that use animal-man characters freely, so freely that in my head there’s no difference between an anthropomorphic character and a regular ‘human’ character.

To put into more perspective, over the 27 years I’ve been alive, I have seen at least 3 different live-action versions of Sun Wukong the Monkey King adaptations, on primetime television:

and 2 adaptations of Madam White Snake

This was aimed at adult audiences, and families. These are the equivalent of soap operas in the west. Chinese families would gather at the television after dinner to catch an episode of snake demons trying to make medicine. This is what my culture does.

And I think that’s the crux of it. There’s a lot of things from the west I still don’t get. The furry mindset for one. I’m sorry but when you have actual origin myths that involve a dog marrying a princess and bearing offspring, and stories like Madam White Snake of a snake spirit marrying a man and having a son and all that, I have a very different attitude to animal-human relations. 

Keep in mind, I know they are stories. That’s the thing, we understand the stories as metaphors, or as remnants of our shamanistic roots. We have a philosophy of the interaction between humans, animals, and the spirit world, that I don’t want to get into here. 

But look at the above examples, it’s so intrinsic to the Chinese culture, that we don’t bat an eye to watching these shows. They are popular and in demand.

Bottomline, very different attitude about anthropomorphism, and it’s not about religion, but a kind of cultural shamanism that still prevails.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

I know, I’m super late to this, I know.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is about two warriors, in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically skilled, adolescent nobleman’s daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.

I have to say, I was kinda let down. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the fuck out of this movie, but this was overhyped to me as THE definitive wuxia movie. There are two romantic subplots in here. One features Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh, the other has Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen; one is understated and silent, the other is open and full of passion. Although both are effective, Zhang’s and Chang’s subplot is a little melodramatic to be coming from wuxia cinema. Its placement in the plot is clumsy, but something had to be explained for Zhang’s motivations in the film. Compared to the relationship of Chow and Yeoh, the romance in the Gobi is kinda meh. However, all four actors are amazingly adept at expressing their characters’ vulnerabilities, their silent agony over what could’ve been.

Ang Lee’s direction and Peter Pau’s cinematography really fucking elevated this movie. From the brilliant wire-fu fight scenes to 18th century Beijing and the panoramas of the Gobi desert, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the visuals if not the characters.

The fight scenes are among the best I’ve ever seen. The stunts, the wire work, and the choreography are all very captivating. Throw in some beautiful locations, Tan Dun’s score, Pau’s camerawork again, you’re in for a spectacular treat. They’re not as brutal as Tony Jaa or Iko Uwais, comedic as Jackie Chan, nor as efficient as Bruce Lee – and I’m not saying their fights are not pieces of art, because film is a form of art and they are martial artists after all – but when you see the fight scenes here, it’s like watching artful but violent dancing.

8.2/10

the-poetry-book asked:

Hey! (^w^) When you get this reply with five things that make you happy, then send this to the last ten people you have notes from in your activity!

5 Camp-fire with friends or family
4 Hot sand and a cold sea
3 Running, it gives me a sense of freedom
2 Music, it brings me back to the living, couldn’t live without.
1 Movies (wuxia pref.), on the biggest screen I can afford, still my nr1 drug

I’ve Found a Treasure

Because of The El Rey Network, I’ve recently discovered Wang Yu. It all started with The One-Armed Swordsman (1967). Actually, I saw Golden Swallow first, but my eyes were really opened when I saw him as the one-armed swordsman. I feel like I’ve come across buried treasure. Each movie I watch of his, I fall more madly in love with him. Last night, I watched “Beach of the War Gods” that he wrote, directed & starred in. It was fantastic! I even love his terribly cheesy movies, “The Man From Hong Kong” and “Man Called Tiger”. I can’t wait to continue watching him in many more movies.

A Touch of Sin (2013)

Say HI to Sinekdoks’ first contributor @eckartes ! Read his astonishing review of A Touch of Sin (2013) on Sinekdoks!

“The gods are to blame – if you have grievances, tell heaven about them!” This violent, outrageous and brilliantly cinematographed movie by Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke tells about four random crime stories based on real events that spread out in some places in China. The English title is likely an Easter egg to 1971’s wuxia movie, A Touch of Zen. A Touch of Sin was nominated at Cannes and…

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