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A Touch of Zen

Xia nü
dir. King Hu
Taiwan, Hong Kong 1971, 179’
subtitles: Polish and English

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Theatrical Screenings
We 15 Nov, 16:45
St 18 Nov, 15:00
Online Availability
17th November – 19th November
25th November – 26th November
2nd December – 3rd December
Additional Materials
Awards and festivals
Cannes Film Festival 1975 - Technical Grand Prize
Taiwan, Hong Kong 1971
Duration: 179’
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
production: Union Film, International Film Production
language: Mandarin
colouration: colour

Film description

Ming dynasty. Gu Shengzai is a poor, unmarried scholar living with his mother in a decaying house in a provincial town. One day, he meets a new neighbor who just moved into the nearby rundown fort. As it turns out, the beautiful and mysterious Miss Yang is not who she says she is. The talented warrior is the daughter of an upright official who dared to denounce the swindles of a powerful, cruel eunuch Wei. Now Yang must hide her true identity from Wei's spies and the troops he sent after her with one mission only – to erase any traces of the alleged high treason.

After the success of "Dragon Inn," King Hu decided to open his own production studio and shoot his most ambition film yet. "A Touch of Zen" took four years to make, but unfortunately turned out to be a financial disaster. Only in 1975, after it was rediscovered and screened at the Cannes Film Festival, both the wuxia genre and the director himself received the attention and praise of Western critics. In many ways, the film is an absolutely visionary oeuvre. King Hu was one of the first filmmakers to blend martial arts cinema with the transcendent poetics capturing the essence of Zen Buddhism. This seemingly odd combination changed the understanding of the wuxia genre, and "A Touch of Zen" went to become a pioneering title in Taiwan's cinema – a poetic, philosophical treatise that kept inspiring filmmakers all around the world for many years.

Łukasz Mańkowski

King Hu

Born in Beijing in 1932, grew up surrounded by classical Chinese painting and literature. At the age of 18, he moved to Hong Kong to create advertising posters, then went on to work for the famous Shaw Brothers Studio. After the success of "Come Drink With Me," a film that revolutionized the genre of wuxia, he moved to Taiwan to shoot "Dragon Inn," which enjoyed an enthusiastic reception. His next film, "A Touch of Zen," took three years to make and is widely considered to be his masterpiece. Hu's subsequent productions, shot in various locations including South Korea, form part of the ambitious wuxia canon but remain fairly unknown outside of Asia. King Hu is regarded as the visionary of action cinema who created the trends that remain present in mainstream productions to this day.


1966 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 Deszcz w górach / Kong shan ling yu / Raining in the Mountain

1979 Legenda gór / Shan zhong zhuan qi / Legend of the Mountain

1983 Koło życia / Da lunhui / The Wheel of Life (jedna z nowel)

1993 Hua pi zhi: Yin yang fa wang / Painted Skin

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