ANNOUNCEMENTS

20 MOVIES in 1 month challenge: 13/20

Next reviews: 30+ Single on Sale, Okja, Bloody Monday S1, Heroine Shikkaku, The Beauty inside, Terra Formars, Ayashii Kanojo, Secret Message, Vancouver's Asahi, Onmyuji ~The Yin Yang master~, Onmyouji II, Hajimari no uta, Dive to the future, The professor and his beloved equation, The Commitment, Maison Ikkouku 1,2; Very ordinary couple; Rurouni kenshin ~Kyoto inferno~, Attack on titan 1,2; I have to but new shoee;

Currently watching: Bloody Monday S2, Karei naru spy, Brilliant Legacy

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Grandmaster (2013)



Country: China
Format: movie
Genre: true-life, martial arts
Cast: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Zhao Benshan, Elvis Tsui, Song Hye Kyo, Yuen Woo Ping, Zhang Jin, Wang Qingxiang, Xiaozhenyang, Cung Le, Lo Hoi Pang, Bruce Leung,
Synopsis: Movie tells a story of Ip Man's life - a man who was the teacher to many world-famous martial artists including Bruce Lee. The movie starts from 1930s in Fushan and leads to year 1952 in Hong Kong, during what Ip Man had the biggest changes in his life and what lead him into becoming the grandmaster. 
Rating: 5/5
This was the start of the film festival for me. "The Grandmaster" is amazing film by its storyline and graphics. As it is based on true-life events, it is a bit difficult to review it, but the movie is made really interesting by adding fake-documents as retaken photos into it. There are three different length versions of the movie, but I saw the longest 130 minutes, which also was shown in Beijing.

Ip Man is balanced man, who is the best martial artist in Foshan. He makes difficult choices in life and looses most of things and people around him, but he never looses his spirit for martial arts. Though Tony Leung did marvelous job in the movie and he went through a lot while filming, I could not stop from laughing in my mind, because sometimes his "balanced-face" more looked like "naive-face". The director Wong Kar Wai wanted to make the movie of Ip Man that would show his growth, because movies about his fighting are already done. The growth started when Ip Man was 40 and that's why it is also used as the starting point for the movie. 
Gong Er is played by Zhang Ziyi - I think one of the most famous Chinese actresses. I have seen her
movies before, but sadly I have not written reviews about them (it was before starting blog). She is a great actress and her poker-face never disappoints me, when she has to play characters who are meant to keep their emotions under control. (Though it makes me want to see her in a rom-com). Gong Er is moved by her passion and she sticks to the basics rules of martial arts. Whether it is wrong or right to risk with one's own life for family honor is not up to others to decide. She has many difficult decisions to make as a daughter, successor and as a woman.
Ma San is Gong Er's step-brother, who is also the successor of their school. Despite being taken in as orphan he does not have any special feelings toward family members and succeeding in every situation is more important to him. Actions that usually are said to be "betraying" are just "adapting to times" to him.   
If I were to choose the best actor/actress from the cast, then it has to be Song Hye Kyo who plays the wife of Ip Man. She does not have a single line, a single word in the movie, because the character knew what influence wrongly said words might have, yet you can understand every single feeling or thought she is having. Though I have not seen her acting in Korean dramas, I know what titles like "Autumn tale", "Full House" and " That winter, the wind blows" mean.
At one moment a new character is added. "The Razor" Yixiantian who used to be spy, but who decides to go into hiding after Japanese take over. He has one meeting with Gong Er, but for the rest of the movie he has like his own story line. It was something that I did not understand. Director Wong Kar Wai said that it was to show that not all can become martial art masters, but for me at the time it seemed a bit out of blue moment. Maybe if I watch it for the second time, it would be fitting, because now I know what to see from it.
The movie is long done beauty, because it was first announced in year 2008, but it went through a lot before finally airing in the start of 2013. Tony Leung and Chiu Wai with other cast members went through long practices for their fighting scenes, which included also getting their bones broken while training (Tony Leung broke his arm twice). And when I am talking about long practice then I mean like 4 years of practice. I think that the fighting scenes are the most powerful and astonishing things in this movie. It is amazing how beautiful human body can be while fighting (something that cannot be said about boxing)

Of course there were many things that were left out of the movie and were not even hinted in the end, but all "based on someone's life" movies do that. If you are interested in more, then there has been done 4 other movies and one TV-series about Ip Man's life. For more interesting facts and background about the movie read the interview with director Wong Kar Wai and screenwriters.

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