Ip Man, the kung fu master who among others taught Bruce Lee some of his tricks and kicks seems to be the honey of the 2010 silver screens. Two years after the film Ip Man (叶问), a sequel is now released, once again under the direction of Wilson Yip (Yip Wai Shun) and with Donnie Yen in the leading role. Apart from this, two other pictures about the great fighter is under production right this moment.
Wilson Yip´s movie, Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster (叶问2：宗师传奇) – in Shanghai cinema theatres this week – continues to depict the life of Ip Man, this time set against the background of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (The Second Sino-Japanese War, 1937-45), and focuses on Ip´s movements in Hong Kong, which is under British colonial rule. Leading actor Donnie Yen describes the first Ip Man film as being about life in a new environment with unfamiliar conditions in which the hero deals with the problems of the time, while he views the sequel as a portrait of Ip´s efforts to find work, support his family and start a new life. The storyline goes like this:
After killing a Japanese army official to defend his honor, Ip Man flees to Hong Kong with his family to start a new life. Ip attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun, but faces rivalry from other practitioners, including the local master of Hung Ga martial arts. In Cantonese.
According to Donnie Yen, the reason why his role as Ip Man is so popular, is that “Most heroes in past action films have the tendency of male chauvinism while Ip Man treasures and takes good care of his family. Audiences love him for being such a counter-traditional character.”
The real Yip Man, Yip Kai Man, (叶问), was born in 1893 and died in 1972, and is considered the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun openly. Many of his students later became teachers in their own right, among them Bruce Lee.
The Wing Chu style is said to have been founded by Ng Mui, one of the legendary Five Elders of the Shaolin temple – the survivors of the destruction of the Shaolin Temple during the Qing Dynasty. Even though Ng Mui created the art, it is named after her disciple, Yim Wing Chun, because of her improvements to the art. Her life was depicted in the film Wing Chun from 1994, with Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) in the role of the martial arts heroine.
If you´re not yet struck by a Wing Chun and Ip Man overload after this week´s premiere, there are two other Ip Man related movie projects coming out this year. They include The Grand Master by Wong Kar-wai (In The Mood For Love) and The Legend is Born: Ip Man by Herman Yau (All’s Well Ends Well 2010), both scheduled for release during 2010.
With such a boom of Yip/Ip Man related film projects coming up, Donnie Yen has told Chinese media that after Ip Man 2, he will no longer play the Wing Chun master.
…I would never ever touch any films related to Ip Man. This will be my final film (Ip Man 2) on the subject. Whenever something becomes a success, everyone would jump on the bandwagon, this is very frightening. Did you know how many Ip Man films are in production? Under such condition, we would not progress, it’d only lead to over-saturation of the subject matter.
Click for info on where and when in Shanghai to watch Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster (叶问2：宗师传奇).
Check out what other movies are showing in Shanghai this coming week. Links lead to info about times and venues.
Vienna Cafe Short Film Night: Made in Shanghai: Vienna Cafe’s gets four Shanghai based indie filmmakers together on Thursday 29 April for another gathering evening for film lovers of the city. Presenting Richard Trombly, Eric Heise, Gianpaolo Lupori and Tim Chu and their short films. Coming from different backgrounds, the four filmmakers are all living and making films in Shanghai. A discussion with the filmmakers will be held after the screening. The Films: “Shattered” (Tim Chu) “Meat Space” (Gianpaolo Lupori) “Dark Moon” (Gianpaolo Lupori) Business Class (Eric Heise) “Waiting” (Richard Trombly) “Melon Harvest” (Richard Trombly). Chinese with English subtitles.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE MOVIES
Clash of the Titans (诸神之战): “The Clash of the Titans” is set in the Greek city of Argos where a war is about to explode between man and the gods. Perseus (Sam Worthington) raised as a fisherman, but is actually a demi-god. Perseus is the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson) who is about to take on the gods after the death of his family. Zeus’ brother Hades (Ralph Fiennes) was the one who killed his family, and Perseus wants to kill him. However, it is Perseus’s destiny to rescue the city of Argos from the ruthless rage of Hades and his Kraken monster. With nothing to lose, Perseus leads a band of soldiers on a quest to defeat the Kraken. In doing this, Perseus will prevent Hades from overthrowing Zeus and in turn destroying mankind.
Alice in Wonderland (爱丽丝梦游仙境): In the film, Alice is now nineteen years old and accidentally returns to Underland (misheard by Alice and believed to be called Wonderland), a place she visited thirteen years previously. She is told that she is the only one who can slay the Jabberwocky, a dragon-like creature controlled by the Red Queen who terrorizes Underland’s inhabitants.
CHINESE LANGUAGE MOVIES
A Side B Side / The Double Life (A面B面): Famous sixth generation director Ning Ying’s comedy starring Zhang Jingchu is set in a mental hospital, and has been billed as China’s first mental institute-based black comedy. This is Zhang Jingchu’s first attempt at comedy, depicting a glamorous model suffering from depression.
Black Cat Detective (黑猫警长): One of the most popular animated television series in China in the 1980s is now a feature-length film. THe original five stories of the animated series are merged into one, with some modern touches. According to director Dai Tielang, who created the original series, there are no major changes. The popular theme song is remixed and trendy modern elements have been added to some dialogue and to the settings.
East Wind, Rain (东风雨): In the film, Fan Bingbing plays a spy during WWII. In order to fulfill her mission and keep the organization’s information secret, she sacrifices herself. Director Liu set the film, which takes place in Shanghai, before and after the attack on Pearl Harbour. The Shanghai of 1941, as presented in the movie, is filled with spies working for different countries and organizations. An Ming, a Chinese agent, works undercover as a pianist in a local pub. He decodes the “East Wind, Rain” message and tries to pass on the information. Director Liu plays An Ming.
Go Lala Go! / Du Lala’s Promotion (Du Lala’s Promotion): Helmed by actress-turned-director Xu Jinglei, the film is adapted from a novel entitled “Du Lala’s Promotion”. The best-seller centers on a woman named Du Lala who takes the high road to get promoted. The film stars director Xu Jinglei herself as Du Lala, as well as Stanley Huang, Karen Mok, Li Ai, and Pace Wu.
Fire of Conscience (火龙对决): Dante Lam, (who directed last year´s “Sniper”) is now making a case for himself as the Michael Mann of Hong Kong. In a front-runner for the title of loudest film of the year so far, “Fire of Conscience” tackles the heady subject of police corruption at street and institutional levels. Grizzled cop Man (Leon Lai, sporting a nifty beard) works the pickpocket beat following the death of his wife, but while investigating the death of a prostitute he finds himself drawn into a deadly crime conspiracy, teaming up with former narcotics detective Kee (Richie Jen). After some of his team are killed in a shootout at a restaurant (an amazingly staged scene very reminiscent of the best action moments from Michael Mann) Man is increasingly determined to get to the bottom of the plot, which involves gunrunning, drugs and explosives.
Beauty on Duty (美丽密令): A rookie policewoman (Choi) rescues a witness of a murder case during her first patrol. The witness is willing to testify against the murderer only if the police team protects his daughter. As a result of this, the rookie is forced to participate in the “Miss Asia Beauty Pageant” together with the girl to ensure she is safe by her side.
Ballistic (弹.道): Cop thriller loosely based on the 2004 assassination attempt on Taiwan president Chen Shui-Bian.
14 Blades (锦衣卫): Daniel Lee´s martial arts epic stars certified Kung Fu badass Donnie Yen in the role of Qinglong, or Green Dragon. He is the best of the so called Jinyiwei, an imperial elite force of assassins recruited from street orphans. Jinyiwei were masters of the 14 Blades, eight being for torture, five for killing, and the last blade being reserved for suicide when a mission failed. When the emperor is kidnapped and the court taken over, Qinglong takes on the mission of restoring the emperor to power. Also starring Vicki Zhao and Chun Wu.
OTHER LANGUAGE MOVIES
Echoes of the Rainbow (岁月神偷): This 2009 Hong Kong film directed by Alex Law stars Simon Yam and Sandra Ng. It won the Crystal Bear for the Best Film in the Children’s Jury “Generation Kplus” category at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival. The film depicts Hong Kong in the striving 60s, as seen through the eyes of a child. Nosy, naughty and always running into trouble, the kid observes with wit and humor the ever changing society of Hong Kong. The story revolves around the kid and his family – a working class father, a happy-go-lucky mother, an aspiring, starry-eyed elder brother, and our young protagonist himself. Through the elder brother’s first romance, and the family’s encounters with love, hope, failure, death and rebirth, we travel back to a place called old Hong Kong, a time we’ll always remember, and a place we have always called home.
El Orfanato / The Orphanage (孤堡惊情): The former orphan Laura raises her adopted son Simón with her husband Carlos in an old house and former orphanage where she was raised. Simón is HIV positive and tells Laura that he has five invisible friends, and she believes they are fruit of his imagination. Laura decides to reopen an orphanage for handicapped children in the location and during the opening party, Simón calls her to show the little cabin of his friend Tomás. The busy Laura does not gives much attention to her son; then she sees a mysterious masked boy and Simón vanishes. Laura feels the presence of other persons in the house and months later, the desperate Laura invites a team of parapsychologists to try to unravel the mystery. In Spanish.
Yuet Gwong Bo Hup / Just Another Pandora’s Box (越光宝盒): Hong Kong director Jeffrey Lau, the director of last years “Metallic Attraction: Kungfu Cyborg” is already out with another comedy. With “Just Another Pandora’s Box” he´s trying to make fun of many classic movies, including one of his own, “Chinese Odyssey”. The story revolves around a bandit and an immortal girl who is in love with him, as they travel back to the Three Kingdom Period, on the eve of the Battle of Red Cliff…Or as another plot summary tells it: an idiot embarks on an adventurous journey with the help of a magic box during the period of the Three Kingdoms in ancient China.
Crossing Henessey (月满轩尼诗): “Crossing Hennessy” is an engagingly fresh and enjoyable dramatic comedy that makes great use of its Hong Kong locations as it delves into the romantic complications of modern urban life. 41-year-old slacker Loy (Jacky Cheung) sleeps in all the time and doesn´t do much with his life. His widowed but flamboyant mom (Paw Hee-ching) sets him up on a matchmaking dim sum lunch with Oi Lin (Tang Wei), a quiet mainland girl-next-door (well, a few streets away). Before long, mom starts to arrange the marriage details, not knowing that Loy is still into, and seeing his ex-girlfriend, who´s now divorced and back on the market. Meanwhile Oi Lin is waiting for her bad boy lover to get out of jail soon. Directed by Ivy Ho. In Cantonese and Mandarin.
Future X-Cops (未来警察): A police officer (Andy Lau) from the year 2085 accidentally arrives in the year 2010. He meets a fellow police officer (Barbie Hsu) and they team up to take on an international crime syndicate. In Cantonese.