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4.2
457 Ratings

A Touch of Zen

Xia nu

Directed by King Hu
Taiwan, Hong Kong, 1971
Adventure, Action, Drama

Synopsis

At once a wuxia film, the tale of a spiritual quest, and a study in human nature, A Touch of Zen is an unparalleled work in King Hu’s formidable career and an epic of the highest order, characterized by breathtaking action choreography, stunning widescreen landscapes, and innovative editing.

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A Touch of Zen Directed by King Hu
The model for every philosophizing wuxia flick that followed, King Hu’s three-hour martial arts epic is visually splendid and thick with mystical overtones, sexual subtexts, Buddhist symbolism, and natural beauty. Notoriously, it doesn’t feature a single fight until almost the hour mark and ends on a note of psychedelic transcendence.
December 05, 2016
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The story is simple, but the treatment is complex. No Shaw film would have delayed the basic exposition so cunningly. And no Shaw film would have presented heroic swordplay through the eyes of a secondary character. Yet by building the plot around Gu, Hu creates a protagonist-as-witness.
July 20, 2016
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A grand-scale wuxia film that finds poetry in cinematic movement and action through the prismatic lens of genre. Comparable to Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West for its playful tone and knowing deployment of archetypes, the film offers visually experimental battle sequences inside of a narrative mostly driven by chronological clarity and character development.
July 19, 2016
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