Fans of classic wuxia filmmaking who live in the Boston area are in for a treat. The Harvard Film Archive is screening the retrospective “King Hu and the Art of Wuxia” from March 15 to 24. Check out their website for the complete program, but this is a rare chance to see some of the most beautiful swordplay films ever made on the big (well, biggish) screen. The Archive is to be commended for tracking down 35mm prints of classics like DRAGON INN, A TOUCH OF ZEN, and LEGEND OF THE MOUNTAIN, one of my personal favorites. LEGEND OF THE MOUNTAIN was the first King Hu film I saw – we screened it around 1980 at one of the Chinatown theaters where I worked as a projectionist. It’s not a martial arts film. It’s about Taoist and Buddhist magic, and how magic can go wrong sometimes. Hsu Feng, one of Hu’s favorite actresses, plays a powerful sorceress who tries to steal a copy of a sutra that can control the dead.

The choreographer for many of King Hu’s films was Han Yingjie. Read my Electric Shadows post about him here.


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