At the beginning of this class I did not know anything about King Hu. I had never watched any of his works before, but I was exposed to other films that utilized elements from his films. From this class I have learned who King Hu is and the amount of influence he had on Chinese films and other films as well. By analyzing his works I was able to learn things some of his camera shots techniques, stylistic humor, and witty scene layouts.
One of my favorites films was Raining in the Mountain. I really liked this film because the underlying message that it conveyed which was something along the lines of the most unlikely is capable of change. I also enjoyed the humor that King Hu placed within this film. Another one of my favorite films was Come Drink With Me. It was interesting to see Golden Swallow as a martial artist since she is female. I enjoyed seeing a female role as a lead martial artist, it feels empowering to women to insert such a role. One of the last films that I liked was the Valiant Ones. I think at this point I started to realize how King Hu displayed deaths. In some of his martial arts movies he wrote the deaths of characters almost in a comical sense. I kind of enjoyed this light hearted feature.
One of my least favorite films was Painted Skin. I felt that since it was more on the spiritual side a lot of the comical elements were lost, which was one of the features I enjoyed about his films. Another one of my least favorite films was Sons of Good Earth. The choreography of the martial arts felt like it lacked fluidity and I think that took away from the angles and shots King Hu took in order to obtain that footage. I do understand that this was his starting point and that perhaps choreography has not developed yet. One of the last films that was my least favorite was Legend of the Mountain. It felt like this one lacked the comical elements that his other non-martial arts film did not have. I feel like there was more room for creativity when there was choreography for the martial arts sequences to insert comical aspects.
King Hu played a substantial role in martial arts cinema. I felt that because of his experimental capabilities and his willingness to create something for the purpose of vision were some qualities he possessed that made his works what they are. The footage that he took was mostly based off of the skills of his actors and editing. Which was different in comparison to early on special effects techniques such as; fast or slow motion, animation, etc. He even went to the extent of creating contraptions for actors to utilize in order to highlight some kind of strength or agility. Like the tower he built for A Touch of Zen when Yang did a diving jump from the top of the bamboo trees towards her foes on the forest floor. In order to make the movement seem fast and enable the actor to achieve the correct amount of speed King Hu went to the extent of building a tower by a river and had the stunt double jump from the top while he filmed the movement from below. And some of the sequences he planned were entertaining. Like from Come Drink With Me, the sequence where Golden Swallow catches something between her chopsticks was entertaining. It was a display of her set of skills but at the same time it was done in a way that was interesting for the audience to see. Other filmmakers have used some of the elements from King Hu's films. Like in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon the fight sequence in the bamboo forest was taken from King Hu's A Touch of Zen. The characters even fought similarly, the diving sequence that I mentioned previously was almost replicated in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
After watching King Hu's film Painted Skin I realized what I enjoy about his films. Usually King Hu inserts certain comical aspects into his films and that's one of the elements that I really enjoy. I felt that this film was a little bit more on the serious side. It was an interesting story and artistically I did enjoy other aspects, but I felt it lacked that light hearted feature that King Hu seems to insert. I did like the scene where Taoist Master is battling the Yin-Yang King. I thought the choreography the Taoist Master had with his staff moved fluidly and the magical attacks they launched at one another ended in the iconic smoke screen. I also liked the field of peach trees. I thought it was a nice element because it was a desolate place and the trees were bare. It kind of helped to bring the plot over to the next section with the addition of the Taoist Master.