DIFF Pix: Hong Kong Kicks


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DIFF Pix returns to Smithfield for a autumnal martial arts treat.

Dublin International Film Festival are bringing a season of the finest martial arts films from Hong Kong to the Light House Cinema Dublin, from Fri 25th to Sun 27th Sept. The event supported by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Brussels, incorporates a programme of 6 films curated by the Executive Director of the Hong Kong International Film Festival, Roger Garcia and will display a tableau of film rich in cinematic history and Hong Kong culture, not to mention, duels, weaponry and wire-fu!

The line-up includes classic martial arts cinema and well known masters such as Bruce Lee in The Way of the Dragon, Jackie Chan in The Young Master and Jet Li for Once Upon a Time in China II. Some of you may find of gems in the action-packed Righting Wrongs or a delightful combination of horror and comedy in Spooky Encounters.

For those who want to get up close and personal with the real action, we're hosting a martial arts demo in Smithfield Square on Fri 25th Sept at 16.30 with Sensei Scott Langley and Hombu Dojo Karate with thanks to Dublin City Council.

On Saturday 26th a screening of Duel to Death will take place in the afternoon followed by a discussion with HKIFF Executive Director Roger Garcia. A film that was received to high critical acclaim in the east, Duel to Death's reputation in the west is less widely established and will prove a wonderful discovery as an old school martial arts epic for the thrill-seekers amongst you.

Tickets are on sale now! Please email for details on group bookings. Download the full programme here.

DIFF PIX: Hong Kong Kicks at a glance

Fri 25th Sept

16.30: Martial Arts Demo - Smithfield Square - with Sensei Scott Langley and Hombu Dojo Karate

 20.15: Once Upon a Time in China II - Light House 1

Sat 26th Sept

15.00: Duel to Death (Followed by a talk by Roger Garcia, HKIFF) - Light House 2

20.00: Spooky Encounters - Light House 2

Sun 27th Sept

15.00: Righting Wrongs - Light House 3

17.00: The Young Master - Light House 1

19.00: The Way of the Dragon - Light House 1


MARTIAL ARTS DEMONSTRATION - 16.30, Fri 25th Sept, Smithfield Square - Free Entry

For those who want to get up close and personal with the real action, we're hosting a martial arts demo in Smithfield Square on Fri 25th Sept at 16.30 with Sensei Scott Langley and Hombu Dojo Karate with thanks to Dublin City Council.

About Hombu Dojo Karate: All martial arts originated from China centuries ago. Through the complex evolution, refinement and experimentation of the first forms many traditions have been created, Karate being one of them. At the Hombu Dojo, Dublin, we teach Traditional Shotokan Karate. Our full time instructors have competed and won at world championships, lived and studied for many years in Japan and now train full time at our purpose built dojo in Dublin 6 and teach throughout South Dublin.

With over 500 members, the Hombu Dojo is the headquarters of the World Traditional Karate Organization (Ireland & Great Britain). Our group has affiliated clubs throughout the UK and Ireland and is the official representative of the international karate governing body (WTKO) for the British Isles. Scott Langley 6th Dan (Hombu Dojo Chief Instructor) is the head of the WTKO Ireland & GB and teaches throughout the world.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 2 - 20.15, Fri 25th Sept, Light House 1 - Tickets €11

Jet Li reprises his role as the legendary Wong Fei-hung for the second in the OUATIC series of films giving us another genuinely charismatic performance along with some outstanding martial arts displays. This time Fei-hung must face both the government and the dangerous White Lotus cult who are opposed to anything western, and this includes Aunt Yee (Rosamund Kwan) and her dress sense! Continuing from where the original left off we see Fei-hung and Aunt Yee’s impending romance begin to blossom, which brings on some of the more comical scenes in the film.

Director Tsui Hark gives us another excellent Wong Fei-hung film, combining great storytelling with some amazing visuals and superb renditions of the OUATIC theme. Everything is then brought together with some of the best action scenes committed to film. The major ‘wire-fu’ sequence is also excellent, here we see Jet Li face off against his double from the first film in a sequence which is so creative and well executed it just puts Hollywood’s recent efforts to shame! - Dave Foster

DUEL TO DEATH - 15.00, Sat 26th Sept, Light House 2

Duel To The Death is one of the last old school Hong Kong martial arts epics, made by Shaw Brothers at the tail end of their golden age of production. Based around a familiar rivalry between the respective martial arts systems practiced by China and Japan.

At the heart of his film is the relationship between Hashimoto, the Japanese fighter/ swordsman primed for the betterment of his lord and country and the young Chinese master, the Lord of the Sword Po Ching-wan.

The relationship between the two contestants gradually grows more complex but Hashimoto, who eventually has to face the claims of competing loyalties (orders from the Shogun and his own sense of honour) has the most complicated set of decisions to make and his final actions, which attempt to reconcile two irreconcilable strands of tension, provide the most arresting moments in the film. - Richard Bowden

SPOOKY ENCOUNTERS - 20.00, Sat 26th Sept, Light House 2 - Tickets €11 - Tickets €11

Spooky Encounters has a perfect balance of comedy, action and horror - although the horror is very tame and isn’t likely to cause any sleepless nights! The film was a true ground-breaking mix of genre’s at the original time of its release, so it’s a testament to its high quality that many years later it has still never been bettered.

The film has more original ideas than in a dozen Hollywood films - the fight scenes throughout growing increasingly inventive. The idea to feature a fight where Cheung is attacked by a group of guards as well as his own hand (!) is pure inspiration. And it’s only one of many such scenes. Another highlight being Cheung calling upon - and being possessed by - the spirit of the Monkey King adds to what is one of the most unique and satisfying finales in any martial arts film. - Martin Cleary

RIGHTING WRONGS - 15.00, Sun 27th Sept, Light House 3 - Tickets €11

Corey Yuen plays a Hong Kong attorney back from a stint in the US, involved in prosecuting two mob bosses for murder and drug trafficking. They walk free when the lone witness and his family are killed on their orders. Yuen decides to exact revenge and goes renegade. He targets the gang’s members and murders one of the bosses. Meanwhile, CID agent Cindy Jones (Cynthia Rothrock) who investigates the crime, suspects Yuen as the culprit and tails him. A young neighbourhood kid (Fan Siu-wong) becomes involved when he witnesses the murder of the other boss and is targeted by the real killer.

Righting Wrongs is a standard revenge flick, light on plot but marked by terrific action that picks up in the second act when Cynthia Rothrock enters the film. Yuen Biao and co-star Rothrock engage in several amazingly complicated fights throughout. It’s a fine vehicle for Yuen – perhaps his most famous film without Sammo Kam-Bo Hung or Jackie Chan – but Rothrock steals the show. - Martin Cleary

THE YOUNG MASTER - 17.00, Sun 27th Sept, Light House 1 - Tickets €11

Ching Loong (Jackie Chan), a young student suddenly thrown into the limelight when his Red School elder, Cheng Keung (Wei Pei), drops out of the annual Lion Dance competition in Guangzhou.

As Ching stuggles against the representative of the rival Blue School, he discovers that it is the debt-laden Cheng.  Ching tries to make Cheng turn over a new leaf but his mission to clear Cheng’s name lands him in hot soup when he is framed for a crime.

Now the young master not only has the reputation of Cheng and the school on his shoulders, he has to prove his own innocence as well. - HKIFF Programme Notes

THE WAY OF THE DRAGON - 19.00, Sun 27th Sept, Light House 1 - Tickets €11

In The Way of the Dragon, Bruce stars as Tang Lung, the Hong Kong equivalent of a backwater hick, who is plopped down in the middle of bustling Italy. In a departure from his two previous HK roles, Lee is not all business this time around: he smiles, jokes, laughs, and generally mugs for the camera when he’s not dealing out some martial justice.

Of course, everyone will want to check out the famous Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris confrontation in the Colosseum, and with good reason - it’s a stellar fight. In fact, Bruce is able to even work in his own personal philosophy of the martial arts during the battle. If you’ll notice, Tang Lung only begins to beat the American fighter Colt (Norris) when he abandons his strictly Chinese style of fighting for something more effective, a perfect example of Bruce Lee’s adopted precept, Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own. What a movie! - Calvin McMillin