The Grandmaster

2013  |  Cantonese, Putonghua  |  DCP  |  Color  |  130min  |  Chinese Subtitle

Director: Wong Kar Wai.Scriptwriter: Zou Jingzhi, Xu Haofeng, Wong Kar Wai.Cinematographer: Philippe Le Sourd.Editor: William Chang, Benjamin Courtines, Poon Hung-yiu.Art Director: William Chang, Alfred Yau.Costume: William Chang.Music: Umebayashi Shigeru, Nathaniel Mechaly.Sound: Robert Mackenzie, Traithep Wongpaiboon.Action: Yuen Wo-ping

Cast: Tony Leung Chui-wai, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen

Producer: Wong Kar Wai, Jacky Pang.Production: Jet Tone Films, Sil-Metropole Organization.World Sales: Wild Bunch


Framed around the life of revered Wing Chun practitioner Ip Man, Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster explores the lives of martial artists—especially the filial Gong Er and her rival Ma San—who are driven and also trapped by the “moral codes” of the hierarchical world of martial arts. Visually stunning with intricate martial arts sequences choreographed by Yuen Woo-ping, The Grandmaster is a bold step forward for Wong Kar Wai.

Date:   13/4 (Thursday)

Time:   7:30PM

Venue:   HK City Hall Theatre

Free admission for all screenings. Tickets are available to public on-site 30 minutes prior to each screening on a first-come, first served basis. Limit to one ticket per person.


The film has gone through quite a long period of gestation and production. How different is the final product from the original idea?

I started out wanting simply to look at Ip Man the person. Later on, however, I discovered what I really wanted to examine is the whole martial arts landscape. I think the biggest question for me was, “What made Ip Man so remarkable?” Some would say it’s because he had a disciple called Bruce Lee, but that would be ignoring something crucial: the circumstances that shaped Ip Man’s life. His life is a microcosm of contemporary Chinese history. He lived through the Qing dynasty, the early republican years, the northern conquest [by the government against warlords], the fight against the Japanese [during WWII] and finally the exodus to Hong Kong [during and after the Chinese civil war between 1945 and 1949]. If you don’t give a proper account of this background, you won’t be able to understand the difficulties he goes through. Among the Chinese, and especially among martial arts practitioners or artists, there is this very important notion of passing the torch. It’s about realizing how one doesn’t own what one’s learned. Receiving inherited wisdom from ageneration of forefathers means there’s also a responsibility to pass it on. This is the burden a grandmaster has to bear.

Interview with Wong Kar Wai

The Hollywood Reporter (February 6th, 2013)