King Hu’s A Touch of Zen, was his last film with Union Film Productions before returning to Hong Kong. This film follows Gu, a good demeanored painter who is unknowingly stuck in a town filled with rebels and refugees of China.
King Hu’s development as a director has significantly progressed since his first films. It is very clear as to who the protagonist is, and providing a generous amount of exposition for each of the character, all while maintains suspense. Throughout the film I felt thoroughly emotionally invested.
As an investor, providing financial support for King Hu films must have felt very risky after this film since it appeared that King Hu would often not follow through on his contracts, or manipulate alternatives in order to fulfill the requirements.
Knowing where the film was cut, for the sequel, it must have definitely been a cliffhanger for theater-goers. The first part of this film cuts off right after a beautifully choreographed fight scene in the bamboo forest. Although this may have been a scheme to fulfill his contract, this must have generated a lot of sales, since many people must have eagerly expected part 2.
After learning that King Hu had split this film into two different parts, and his reasonings for splitting the film, it was beginning to show how frustrated he must have felt during this time. He had many complaints with working conditions with the Shaw Brothers and left Hong Kong, but then quickly left Taiwan to return back to Hong Kong.
Currently, I have not finished watching through the entire film, but when I do, I will give a full review and recommendation of A Touch of Zen.