Sci-fi wuxia flick broadens Chinese film genre

Updated 2017-12-12 14:02:15
Producers and cast members of The Thousand Faces of Dunjia pose for photo on stage at its premiere held in Beijing, Dec. 10, 2017.

Producers and cast members of "The Thousand Faces of Dunjia" pose for photo on stage at its premiere held in Beijing, Dec. 10, 2017.

A new film collaboration between legendary Tsui Hark and Yuen Woo-ping broadens the dimensions of the Chinese wuxia genre after mixing elements of sci-fi with it.

"The Thousand Faces of Dunjia," directed by kung fu film director and choreographer Yuen Woo-ping is a distant remake of his own "Miracle Fighter," a supernatural kung fu film he directed in 1982. Another kung fu film master, Tsui Hark collaborated as the producer and writer.

Apart from sharing the same Chinese title of the film ("Qimen Dunjia"), the comedy remake tells an entirely new story about an outer space alien invasion in ancient China. It redefines the form of wuxia film, by mixing the story line of martial arts heroes uniting to form a secret society - a sort of ancient Chinese answer to Hollywood's "Men In Black" franchise - who protect the earth from aliens who are hiding in public in human forms.

Qimen Dunjia is actually an ancient form of divination in China. Along with Da Liu Ren and Tai Yi Shen Shu, it is one of the collective Three Arts or Three Styles, China's highest metaphysical art forms.

"We have found some essential aspects of the metaphysical art to show in this film," director Yuen said at the premiere held in Beijing on Sunday, adding that current technology allowed him to show the fantasy world much better than before.

"Qimen Dunjia is enigmatical, like I Ching," Tsui Hark also said, "Modern people didn't use it too much. So we try to explore it."

For Tsui, he admitted he had many ideas for potential sequels and other Chinese legends, but was tight-lipped when asked by the reporter. Tsui has consistently over the decade used his vivid imagination to create kung fu and fantasy worlds such as for Detective Dee, Monkey King and Wong Fei Hung.

Zhang Zhao, CEO of Le Vision Pictures and a producer of the film, said "The Thousand Faces of Dunjia" is the most fun and imaginative film he has produced in his more than 20 years career. "This is very significant to me, and I hope I can make films the arts of imagination. This is the fundamental reason for my collaboration with Tsui Hark and producer Nansun Shi - to free your mind."

The film stars Da Peng, Zhou Dongyu, Ni Ni, singer Wu Bai and Aarif Lee. It will open in China on Dec. 15, 2017, inaugurating China's New Year film season with other rival blockbusters such as Feng Xiaogang's "Youth."

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