April 8: Five Fingers of Death (aka King Boxer, aka Number One Fist in the World) (1972). Directed by Chang Hwa-Chung. Starring Lo Lieh. When asked to name his twelve favorite movies of all time, Quentin Tarantino placed "Five Fingers of Death" at number 11. This film was largely responsible for beginning the North American kung fu film craze of the 1970s. Five Fingers of Death tells the story of a kung fu student named Chi-Hao whose master teaches him the secretive and lethal “Iron Fist” technique, which he must use responsibly, and only for the cause of justice (or maybe revenge).
April 15: Fist of Fury (1972). Directed by Lo Wei. Starring Bruce Lee. Featuring the best nunchuck fight scene ever put on celluloid, Fist of Fury is a majestic celebration of the ass-kicking talents of Bruce Lee, as he fights to avenge his slain master and defend the honor of the Chinese in the face of foreign occupation and aggression. This movie has been re-made several times, but none can match the brilliance of the original!
April 22: Broken Oath (1977). Directed by Jeong Chang-hwa. Starring Angela Mao. The world of kung fu was not just a boy’s club, and no one demonstrates this better than superstar Angela Mao, aka Lady Kung Fu, aka Lady Whirlwind. Throughout the 1970s, Mao was the queen of Kung Fu cinema, starring in over 30 films, including such classics as When Taekwondo Strikes, Hapkido, and Snake Deadly Act. Broken Oath is a remake of the 1973 Japanese classic “Lady Snowblood.” It’s a tale of vengeance, as Lotus Liu (Mao) uses kung fu and scorpions to systematically take down the men who assaulted her family.
April 29: The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978). Directed by Liu Chia-liang. Starring Gordon Liu. Widely considered to be one of the greatest kung fu films ever made, 36th Chamber tells the story of legendary Shaolin martial arts warrior-monk San Te, who after years of training leaves the Shaolin temple and uses his skills to aid rebels against the Manchu government. The film stars kung fu legend Gordon Liu, who played the character Pai Mei in Kill Bill. Also, the Wu Tang Clan’s 1993 record “Enter the Wu Tang: 36 Chambers” is a reference to this film.
See you on Wednesdays at the Hibbleton Gallery film series!