Executioners from Shaolin
DIRECTOR: LAU KAR-LEUNG
“He focused so single-mindedly on the lore, rituals, and disciples of kung-fu… instead of using kung-fu to keep local cinema going, he used cinema to document and preserve the traditions he venerated.”—David Bordwell, on Lau Kar-leung
Lau, the greatest martial artist practitioner-historian-filmmaker of all time, is in fine fetch and fettle in this rousing 18th-century period piece. After the temple that Hong (Chen Guandai) trains at is put to the torch by marauding Manchus, the grudgeful survivor goes undercover in a Beijing Opera troupe, where his lust for vengeance takes a temporary backseat to a new ongoing, mutually smitten contest of one-upmanship with a tough female performer, Fang (Li Lili). A movie of purest pleasure, unpacking gender stuff that you’ll need a lifetime to sort out.