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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Movies -> 
The Grandmaster
    2013-01-11  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

    Starring: Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Wang Qingxiang, Song Hye-kyo

    Director: Wong Kar-wai

    PRIOR to “The Grandmaster”’s barnstorming pre-credit fighting sequence, the film’s main protagonist, Ip Man (Tony Leung Chiu-wai), is heard expounding his own view toward martial arts to an unseen friend. “Don’t tell me how good your skills are, how brilliant your master is and how profound your school is,” he says. “Kung fu: two words. One horizontal, one vertical — if you’re wrong, you’ll be left lying down. If you’re right, you’re left standing — and only the ones who stand have the right to talk.”

    It’s a line that sums up Wong Kar-wai’s much-anticipated historical martial arts epic. “The Grandmaster,” which will open the Berlin International Film Festival on Feb. 7, is an action-packed spectacle for sure — indeed, the film contains some of the most dazzling fights ever seen onscreen, courtesy of the action choreography of Yuen Woo-ping (of “The Matrix” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” fame) — but the Hong Kong auteur is seemingly more preoccupied with the introspective verbal exchanges between his battle-hardened warriors.

    While martial arts aficionados will find fulfillment with the fights — complete with more-than-explicit primers from some of the fighters themselves about the specialties of the art they practice — Wong’s art-house fanbase also will find much to savor, with the leading characters oozing the kind of longing that defines the filmmaker’s oeuvre.

    Set in Foshan in Guangdong Province, the section first lays down Ip’s backstory, with his narration about his childhood and his marriage juxtaposed with images of a young Ip being initiated into martial arts by his teacher Chen Heshun (Yuen Woo-ping) and then intimate sequences of Ip’s contented domestic life with his wife Zhang Yongcheng (Korean actress Song Hye-kyo). Ip’s voice then leads the viewer to the Golden Pavilion, a lavishly appointed establishment, and brothel, which serves as a 1930s version of the tavern in old-school martial arts films.

    Ip is contracted into a duel with Gong Yutian (Wang Qingxiang), a martial arts master from northeastern China looking for a last fight (and a consolidation of the supremacy of his school over its southern rivals) before he retires. When Ip emerges victorious, Gong’s daughter, Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi), challenges Ip to a fight to restore her clan’s reputation. She satisfies her hunger for a win, but also finds herself subjected to another craving: With her and her opponent’s limbs winding up all entangled (and some parts of the fight shot beautifully in slow motion), their yearnings begin.

    But it’s at this point that Ip recedes into the background and Gong Er is allowed to take over. Shifting to her hometown in Japanese-occupied northeastern China in the late 1930s, the story kicks into play again as Gong Yutian dies after a confrontation with Ma San (Zhang Jin), his estranged ex-protege. Gong Er vows to avenge her father’s murder in the face of much disparagement from her misogynist elders, who tell her to let things lie and get married.

    In one of their last meetings, Gong admits to having once harbored amorous feelings for Ip. But it’s a confession that leads to nothing. Just as significantly, she also tells Ip about what her main regret in life is — that she has yet to see life as it is, and asks Ip to do so on her behalf.

    Ip has survived all to tell the tale, albeit in a solitude shared by many of Wong’s forlorn protagonists in previous films. Putting Ip in a suit and tie in one of the film’s final scenes, it can be said that Wong might be evoking Chau Mo-wan, the fictional 1960s martial arts novelist whom Leung plays in “In the Mood for Love.”

    While Zhang’s Gong Er is more or less complete and coherent, the same can’t be said of some of the other characters, such as Chang Chen’s Razor, an expert of the Bagua school who is supposed to be another of the grandmasters. Song Hye-kyo’s Madam Ip has only a cursory presence and is basically rendered invisible in the film’s second half.

    Still, “The Grandmaster” offers audiences much to marvel at visually. Production designer William Chang Shuk-ping has come to Wong’s aid with sumptuous sets. Philippe Le Sourd’s cinematography brings Yuen’s scintillating action sequences into sharp focus — a crucial factor given Wong’s penchant for close-ups that can seemingly reveal a universe in the burning tip of a cigarette.

    The movie is now being screened in Shenzhen. (SD-Agencies)

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