On Wednesday 16 November, filmmaker and martial arts film expert Bey Logan – who has contributed to numerous DVD commentaries in his time – hosts the latest in his new monthly “Kung Fu and a Movie” series.
The event will showcase scenes from Tsui Hark’s legendary 1991 martial arts epic Once Upon a Time in China with live commentary provided by Logan, as well as an introduction to the principles of Hung Gar kung fu, which is featured in the film. “When you drink the water, remember from where the water flows,” says Logan, using a Chinese proverb to explain why he’s determined to keep the legacy of kung fu movies alive in Hong Kong.
While much of the current Chinese film production takes place across the border on the Mainland, Logan realises that Hong Kong remains an iconic city for genre aficionados. His New Territories studio/martial arts school is exactly what Hong Kong needs in terms of a museum to honour the city's tradition of martial arts filmmaking. “This is kind of a prototype for a mini-museum,” Logan explains. “You have kung fu being taught here, you have the weapons, you have the [film] archive, you've got the materials, you’ve got me, you’ve got thousands of posters and lobby cards. This is the basis for that.”
Hang Gar kung fu is a popular form of kung fu, part of the lineage of Southern Shaolin. Once Upon a Time in China stars Jet Li, in one of his early starring roles, as legendary Hung Gar master and Chinese hero Wong Fei Hung.
The monthly event will feature a practical application of kung fu by Logan and his sifu and Hung Gar expert Mak Che-kong.
Speaking more about the long-term benefits of studying Chinese martial arts, Logan comments: “Martial arts to me is a really good practice because it’s unlike most Western exercise forms. It benefits you both internally and externally... People are living longer now [and] what is going to benefit you? Is it being bounced off the cage in an MMA ring, or lifting huge weights, or running up mountainsides? I don’t think so. But the practice of Chinese martial arts proves that you can be like my sifu, or like our grandmaster who passed away at the age of 103. You can have a degree of dexterity, stamina and physicality late in life and the art will evolve with you.”
But more than anything, what Logan plans to do is have fun. Fans of martial arts cinema and kung fu will enjoy this event that will hopefully increase in popularity and bolster appreciation for Hong Kong’s cinematic history. Clarke Illmatical
Kung Fu and a Movie $100. Wednesday November 16, 7pm. Unit C, 10/F, Block B, Marvel Industrial Building, 17-23 Kwai Fung Crescent, Kwai Chung, New Territories (Exit C, Kwai Fong MTR).