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966 Ratings

A Touch of Zen

Xia nu

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


Ku Shen Chai, an artist in his early 30s, still lives with his mother, but he is suddenly shaken by the arrival of Yang Hui-ching, a mysterious princess on the run. Yang brings Ku into her circle of protectors, including a nameless monk whose spiritual guidance transforms him into a valiant fighter.

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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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A three-hour Taiwanese epic that proves wuxia can incorporate a coherent plot, pulse-quickening fight scenes, exquisite landscapes and a spiritual dimension – and still be a lot of fun. A Touch of Zen (1970), in other words, is the complete package, one that should appeal not just to arthouse audiences but to lovers of martial-arts action.
March 04, 2016
It remains Hu’s artistic pinnacle, his lasting attempt to enact the phenomenology of Zen Buddhism in cinematic terms while reinventing the martial arts film in the process.
July 17, 2007
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