Friday, January 29, 2010

Nostalgic Chinese Cinema Review Series: 1970s Kungfu, Bruce Lee, and Action Cinema..70年代功夫动作片当道

The 1970s brought with it along the rise of Bruce Lee and Kungfu/Action Masculine films. If the 50s and 60s were dominated by female actors, the 1970s saw the rise of male actors such as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.

The start of the decade witnessed a trend of explicit sexual content films with many soft-porn 'sex and violence' films produced which continued throughout the 70s and 80s. The infamous Lesbian flick 'Intimate Confessions of a Courtesan' came out in 1972 followed by a slew of similarly tiltillating sexual films such as 'Mask' in 1974 and 'Women's POW Camp' in 1973. They pushed the boundaries of Chinese/HK cinema and were the only Chinese movies allowed such daring scenes of homosexual gay love in 'Mask', lesbian torture in 'Women's POW Camp',etc which were possible under British controlled Hong Kong and would definitely have been banned in Taiwan, China, and quite likely other Chinese speaking areas such as Singapore.

Bruce Lee shot to fame in 1971 with The Big Boss/Fist of Fury. He acted in only a handful of films before dying of unknown causes.

The 1970s also saw the rise of Taiwan's melodramatic films based on Qiong Yao (a famous romance novelist) novels. These films were extremely popular amongst the youths of Taiwan and South East Asian Chinese throughout the 1970s as well as into the 1980s. They produced many famous Taiwanese moviestars such as Gui Ya Lei, Ke Jun Xiong, Jen Jen, Chin Han, Chin Hsiang Lin, Lin Feng Jiao, and the most famous of all, Brigette Lin Hsin Hsia. My mom was a fan of them, and a big reason for her decision to move to Taipei to study university apparently!

The 1970s also saw a rise of nationalist cinema in Taiwan due to the political international situation it saw itself. In 1971, Taiwan was kicked out and replaced by China in the United Nations. 1972 saw the breaking off of diplomatic relations between Japan and Taiwan and many other nations followed suit in the interminent years. Seiged by a sense of deep insecurity, Taiwan's government commissioned and encouraged many nationalistic films. A few of these involved anti-Japanese themes which were hereto discouraged due to cold war reasons. Now that Japan had switched diplomatic recognition to China, and it being the No.2 economy even then, Taiwanese cinema was in full force with a couple of very famous anti-Japanese war films. One of the most famous of these was 'Victory' (Chinese title: 梅花)by 刘家昌which was about the Taiwanese people's resistance to Japanese occupation during WW2. The theme song spread like wildfire and even went as far as Malaysia/Singapore amongst the overseas Chinese. Listening to the song kinda makes me emotional about being Chinese too as the Chinese title means 'Plum Blossom' which is the national flower of the Republic of China and amongst the backdrop of the anti-Japanese storyline, can be very emotive and evoking one's sense of pride in being Chinese.

One of Qiong Yao's Romantic Movies with full Eng subs:
'Victory' (1975) theme song:

1980s coming up...


fufu said...

80s will be jacky chan and bruce lee??

hcpen said...

Jacky Chan correct, Bruce Lee is 70s lah..hahah:)