Sunday, January 02, 2022

Ancestral Teacher of a Generation (aka The Grandmaster)

Stand and Deliver

Horizontal; vertical: Those are the two characters that make up the word "kung fu," as we are told by Ip Man (Tony Leung), the real life martial arts master of the wing chun style and eventual mentor to Bruce Lee. Ancestral Teacher of a Generation [Yi dai song shi, also known as The Grandmaster (its English title appears at the end of the credits), 2013] exists in three different cuts of various lengths and unique content: a Hong Kong cut, an American cut (presided over by Harvey Weinstein, with Wong's supposed sign-off), and the domestic Chinese cut, which is the longest and, according to those who've studied all three versions, the richest. As Wong mastered the wuxia with Ashes of Time, so too in The Grandmaster does he present the most exciting kung-fu-movie-cum-dynastic-epic in years. But whereas Ashes of Time made jaw-dropping use of a lysergic color palette, The Grandmaster is all blacks, beiges, silvers, and whites — the falling rain 'steels' the image in this story that spans the 1930s to the '50s. Lessons:

"A bird that has no perch to sit on." — We've heard this phrase before, in Days of Being Wild

"I have two hands, but wing chun has eight kicks."

"A tiger never quits the mountain."

"As life as in chess, a move once made stays on the board."


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