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World Cinema Series: The Valiant Ones

What King Huís kinesthetic poetry is distilled to its barest essence in this late masterpiece. Set in the Ming Dynasty (14th-17th century), The Valiant Ones refers to the crack team, including a coolly enigmatic swordsman and his taciturn wife, assembled by military strategist Roy Chiao, to defend the Chinese coast against Japanese pirates.
When 14 June 2011 (Tuesday), 7:30 pm
Where National Museum of Singapore, Gallery Theatre
93 Stamford Road Singapore 178897
Admission

Free admission but members only -- flash your membership card to go in. You may bring up to 2 guests if you hold a SFS Reel membership card. Non-members may sign up online or at the door -- we will issue membership on the spot. No tickets will be sold. Free seating. Space is limited.

 

1975 | Hong Kong | 107 min | 35mm | Rating TBC
In Mandarin with English subtitles

King Hu’s kinesthetic poetry is distilled to its barest essence in this late masterpiece. Set in the Ming Dynasty (14th-17th century), The Valiant Ones refers to the crack team, including a coolly enigmatic swordsman and his taciturn wife, assembled by military strategist Roy Chiao, to defend the Chinese coast against Japanese pirates.

The Valiant Ones was conceived as a series of action tableaux, denoting Hu’s interest in military strategy and his sheer enjoyment in directing and constructing every possible variations of action choreography. Hu’s cinematic artistry is succinctly condensed in the climactic battle scene between the swordsman and a Japanese pirate. The impact of the scene derives much of its power from the integration of tour de force editing and feats of action choreography that surpass all that Hu has done before. The film is at once tantalisingly abstract in its fight choreography and majestic in its evocation of landscape. Unlike the preternaturally gifted heroes of most swordplay films, Hu’s valiant ones are mortal. Suffused with a deep sense of melancholy, his “Picture of Valour” (the film’s Chinese title) is ultimately ironic; its sombre resolution undercuts any triumph in victory.

Print source: Hong Kong Film Archive
Film copyright: King Hu Foundation
Special thanks to the Asian Film Archive for the assistance rendered in the screening of this film.