Retrospective of Taiwan’s martial arts films to kick off in Netherlands

After being screened at the Cannes and Venice film festivals, the digitally restored films of King Hu are making their way to Amsterdam

Still of "A Touch of Zen" (Screen capture from EYE Film Institute Netherlands)

Still of "A Touch of Zen" (Screen capture from EYE Film Institute Netherlands)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following the retrospective of Cannes award-winning Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) in 2016, the EYE Film Institute Netherlands in Amsterdam is preparing to introduce Dutch moviegoers to Taiwan’s martial arts films of the 1970s at a series of screening starting May 30 and running through June 8.

In this retrospective, EYE will screen four works by influential martial arts filmmaker director King Hu (胡金銓), dated from 1967 to 1979, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture (MOC).

“King Hu set the standard for the martial arts film with his graceful fights, magnificent nature shots and stunning sword fights,” said EYE.

Three of the films have recently been digitally restored in 4K resolution by the Taiwan Film Institute in cooperation with the Italian laboratory, L'Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna, including “Dragon Inn,” “A Touch of Zen,” and “Legend of the Mountain.”

Born in Beijing in 1932, Hu started out working in the film industry in Hong Kong, but later found his niche in martial arts cinematography after he moved to Taiwan in the 1960s.

Hu’s martial arts films, featuring traditional eastern culture and modernist artistic expression, have appealed to movie fans from around the globe over the years and influenced filmmakers of later generations, according to MOC.

Apart from Hu’s films, works of noted Asian filmmakers who have been inspired by Hu will also be screened, such as “Goodbye, Dragon Inn” by Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮), and “A Touch of Sin” by Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke (賈樟柯).