Terracotta recommends 2nd September 2023
SHAWTEMBER, ALL MONTH LONG
This week's recommends, given it's SHAWTEMBER, are a range of films from the legendary Shaw Brothers Studio.
If you're new to Hong Kong Cinema or martial arts movies, then you will probably need to know the Shaw Brothers films. Shaw Brothers Studio dominated the Hong Kong Film industry of the '60s and '70s. The studio began the careers of many of Hong Kong's best directors and most beloved stars (you'll catch a young Jackie Chan in some of these films) just at the time when an influx of talented Peking Opera troupes, with their acrobatic and athletic training, came from mainland China.
Under the auspices of Sir Run Run Shaw, the studio boasted a rigorous production schedule with a new film starting every nine days, and with some actors finishing on set for one film and then dashing off to the set of another film on the same day, for many days continuously.
At the same time, the studio was still able to set new standards in filmmaking, utilising these Peking Opera trained personnel as stuntmen, to work on, then, visually incredible falls and taking hits and falls on camera.
There were also many genuinely trained martial arts practicioners of different disciples and styles of kung fu, as well as some who were well-versed in using a range of weapons. This brought a new level of excitement to fight scenes on the big screen.
At the same time, the rise of the martial arts movie genre really caught the cinema going public's imagination, with themes of watching something heroic and noble, from a bygone era in history, or a fight for justice against oppressors, or a tale of revenge.
Some of the best martial arts films from the Shaw Brothers Studio can be found on the Terracotta store, including COME DRINK WITH ME (directed by the legendary King Hu who also directed A TOUCH OF ZEN), and THE EIGHT DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER (starring Gordon Liu, KILL BILL).
Rolling into the 80s, there were influences of 80s creature features and sometimes the occult. OILY MANIAC is a great example of one of these films.
Below you will find a selection of Shaw Brothers films to get you started in your exploration of this genre.