I seem to have grown a little cold toward cinema in the past couple of years, I think it is the market-driven nature of much of the product, and as I have said before, television is, and always has, worked for me, so I don't mention movies that often here. But I watched The Grandmaster, an epic tale of the life of Ip Man, master of Wing Chun style of kung-fu. Ip Man is also well-known via one of his star pupils, Bruce Lee. This story is biographic and follows Man from the early 1930s in Southern China to his Hong Kong years and eventual death in the 1970s. It's a beautifully shot film, poetry in motion is a trite saying, but it does capture the lyrical and fluid play with image and story that director and writer Wong Kar-wai achieves in this film. If you are not a fan of martial arts, it might be that you wouldn't choose to watch this film, but as much as it is about MA it is the way the story is told that really captures the imagination. Wong Kar-wai is a masterful film-maker, he thinks nothing of devoting time to the sight and sound of a foot finding its balance on the floor, or of the flow of arms attacking and defending in sync with rain that is falling all around the fighters.
The Grandmaster is not an action movie, it's a philosophical tale, ultimately about a man who chooses a path-peacefulness, rather than ambition or vengeance as his opponents do, about the choice to control rather than give in to lust. As one wise old teacher asks his volatile student, "why must a knife be in a sheath?" Because it's real power is ot in its sharpness, but in its concealment, but of course, his student doesn't want to be concealed, or to conceal his power. The film is full of stuff like that, it's slow-moving, tender at times, and again, magnificently shot, should be seen.