Monday, December 14, 2009

The Dream Sword (1979)

The Dream Sword (1979)

December 17th, 7:00PM in Garland 104 (2441 E. Hartford)

Wu Xia (swordplay) films are one of China’s oldest and most popular cinematic genre. Because of internal politics during the Nationalist era of the 1930's these films were banned. This lead to boom in Hong Kong productions of this form. As the Nationalists were deposed by the Communists the ban still held, and so Hong Kong continued to carry the torch.

During the late 1950's new writers came onto the scene creating the novels that hundreds if not now thousands of films would stem from. Beginning with rather primitive productions Taiwan created its own Wu Xia boom. They could not compete with the mammoth productions of Hong Kong Shaw Brothers Studio, but they were able to take advantage of their domestic market. Most of these films were cheaply made knock offs of Hong Kong Wu Xia films, but there were a few directors such as King Hu and Cheung Paang Yik that were able to improve the quality and inventiveness of Taiwanese productions.

The Dream Sword is average by Hong Kong standards, but a solid film containing the complexity for which the genre is known. This typically includes wild plot twists, double identities and an atmosphere where nearly anything can happen. The film itself deals with the hunt for a magical sword and its unbalancing affects upon the martial world.

Taiwan, Director Li Chao Yung, Cast Chiang Ming, Chung Wa, Hu Chin and Lung Fei, 93 minutes, in Mandarin with English Subtitles

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