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Archive - 9th Five Flavours Film Festival

A Touch of Zen

Xia nu
Taiwan 1971, 179’
subtitles: Polish and English
director: King Hu
screenplay: King Hu
cinematography: Hua Hui-ying
editing: King Hu, Wang Chin-chen
music: Wu Ta-chiang, Lo Ming-tao
cast: Hsu Feng, Shih Chun, Bai Ying, Tien Peng, Roy Chiao
producer: Sha Yung-fong, Hsia-wu Liang Fang
language: Mandarin
colouration: colour

Awards and festivals

Cannes FF 1975 - nagroda techniczna / Technical Grand Prize

Film description

During the Ming dynasty, Gu Shengzai is an unmarried poor scholar who lives with his mother in a decaying house in a small provincial city. One day, he meets his new neighboor, who just moved in the destroyed fort next to their place, the beautiful and mysterious Miss Yang. She pretends to an orphan with her mother but in fact she is the daughter of an honest official who has denounced the misdeed of the powerful and cruel Eunuch Wei. After a night with her, Gu decided to help her and her two allies to fight against Wei’s troops. Gu’s knowledge of strategy and the strengh of Miss Yang and her friends lead them to a victory. But then, Miss Yang disappears and Gu looks for her. He will witness an ultima fight between good and evil.

After the success of "Dragon Inn", King Hu decided to launch both his new studio and this most ambitious film. The film took four years to be completed. The film was a failure but was discovered a few years later in Cannes allowing wuxia movies and King Hu to be officially recognised by the film critics.


Restored copy screening, DCP courtesy of Taiwan Film Institute.

Wafa Ghermani

King Hu

Born in Beijing in 1932 and grew up surrounded by classical Chinese painting and literature. At 18 he moves to Hong Kong and start his carreer as billboard painter before working for the Shaw Brothers company. Despite the success of Come Drink with he decides to leave Hong Kong for Taiwan to shoot Dragon Gate Inn (a success) and A Touch of Zen. This last film is a failure at the box-office and Hu after some more attempts moved to the United States.

Selected filmography:

1964 Napij się ze mną / Da zui xia / Come Drink with me
1967 Dragon Inn / Long meh kezhan / Dragon Gate Inn
1971 Dotyk zen / Xia nu / A Touch of Zen
1973 Ying chun gez hi / The Fate of Lee Khan
1979 Kong shan ling yu / Raining in the Mountain
1993 Hua pi zhi: Yin yang fa wang / Painted Skin

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