- Title: JAPAN: Chinese martial arts film "Seven Swords" premieres in Tokyo
- Date: 6th October 2005
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (SEPTEMBER 28, 2005)(REUTERS) "SEVEN SWORDS" DIRECTOR TSUI HARK ARRIVES AND GREETS FANS SHOT OF JAPANESE FANS HOLDING MOBILE PHONES UP TO TAKE PHOTOS (SOUNDBITE)(English) DIRECTOR OF "SEVEN SWORDS" TSUI HARK SAYING: "This movie we were using a realistic and very close to...you know, realism, to create a kind of different fantastic story. I think it creates a totally different kind of dramatic moment."
- Embargoed: 21st October 2005 13:00
- Location: Japan
- Country: Japan
- Reuters ID: LVA8B7QDM05V0AOBBGFI1OLCKUIX
- Story Text: Master of martial art films, Tsui Hark, is looking to make a bold return to his cinematic roots with his new film "Seven Swords". Tsui Hark's story behind the making of "Seven Swords" sounds itself like the plot of a Chinese martial arts film. A master, in this case Hark, who wants to make a new pure style of his art assembles a top-class group, in this case some of Asia's top actors, and travels deep into China to the unspoiled westernmost hinterland of Xinjiang (pronounced ShEEngjung). There, under the majesty of the snow capped mountains, he determines to make something new, stemming from his traditional strengths. Tsui Hark's name has long been associated with "Wuxia" (pronounced wushee-ya) style of martial arts films. "Wuxia" films are characterized by mythical tales of hero warriors and fantastic fight sequences as they do battle with their evil foes. The complicated fight sequences usually feature acrobatic jumping, flying and throwing that defy the laws of physics. Considered an innovator in the wildly popular genre, Hark wanted to add something different this time. Famous for his martial arts action films such as "The Swordsman" and "Once Upon a Time in China" series, for this film Tsui Hark wanted to use less wires for the stunt scenes. While there is still plenty of action in the air, in "Seven Swords" the characters seem to fly about more by human force rather than magical powers, an added twist to the "Wuxia" style. "This movie we were using a realistic and very close to...you know, realism, to create a kind of different fantastic story. I think it creates a totally different kind of dramatic moment." said Tsui Hark. "Seven Swords" is an epic set in the early 1660s in China. A new government has prohibited the practice of martial arts, and ruthless general is dispatched to enforce the decree, slaughtering all students of kung-fu in his path. A retired executioner feels morally obliged to stop the tyranny and decides to save a small village where the martial arts are practiced. To accomplish his goal the old master creates seven swords and finds seven students to wield them. While based on a popular Chinese book from the 1970's Tsui Hark openly admits his reverence for Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and the similarities between Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai" and "Seven Swords". The director also moved away from traditional film-making techniques. "This movie I didn't use storyboards because the storyboard is kind of rigid" explained Hark. "It is too stiff for when you want to come to explore something you know, not very similar to before. So this movie we didn't do storyboards, we just shot with a very free-handed style." Donnie Yen, who stars in the movie, is no stranger to martial arts either. Both of his parents were masters of the martial arts and the young apprentice learned various fighting styles early on. Donnie Yen has directed, choreographed and starred in dozens of martial arts films including box office hits such as "Blade 2" and Zhang Yimou's "Hero". Among martial arts film fans, he is perhaps best known for the final elaborate fight sequence of "Once Upon a Time in China Two" (also directed by Tsui Hark) in which he battles furiously against Jet Li. "Japanese fans are one of the most passionate and devoted fans," said Yen before a crowd of at the movie's Tokyo premiere. "I am very grateful that they're here. Also in Tokyo to promote the film, Chinese actor and singer Leon Lai spoke of working with Tsui Hark. "I am a big fan of the director Tsui Hark. I love Tsui Harks' film and I have seen a lot of them. said Lai. "I have been in one of the films that he produced however this is the first one that I have been in that he Tsui Hark directed. I am happy that my dream of more than a decade "Seven Swords" opens in cinemas across Japan on October 1st. The film opens in Europe in this autumn, and is expected to be released in the US sometime next year.
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