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7 Inspirations from the movie "The Grandmaster" by Wong Kar Wai

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A mentor of mine AC shared with me that he obtained a lot of visual inspirations from the movies directed by Wong Kar Wai / 王家卫.
Since then, I have started to study movies directed by the talented director.
In the spring 2013, I watched a movie entitled The Grandmaster 《一代宗師》 about Yip Man / Ip Man / 葉問 / 叶问 by Wong Kar Wai,
which was three years in the making and more than 10 years in gestation.

Yip Man was a Chinese martial artist practising Wing Chun style / 咏春拳 who have taught Bruce Lee.
The Grandmaster is an integration of artistic and kungfu movie.
I refer to this approach as an innovation,
in which the movie viewers are not only showered with fast and furious fighting actions but also the relatively s…l…o…w melancholy musings, philosophy and aesthetics,
which make this movie unique.

Herein, I share inspirations (not a movie review) that I acquire from watching the movie.

1. I find the style name of 咏春 (that sounds like forever spring) meaningful, because many people desire their lives will be youthful forever like spring, but winter is also part of our life journeys.
If life has four seasons, it’s spring to me before 40. But it then just turned straight to winter.

Instead of yearning for the past time, let us be present and cherish the four seasons of our lives!

2. The martial arts arena (江湖) are the fights of survival and striving to be the top among the martial artists,
those with the highest quality of kungfu skills tend to win, but those with wits also win.
Confucius mentions that wisdom is more important than speed, through the story in which the tortoise wins over a fast-running animal.
Today, in everyday lives of many people, we are still fighting like those martial artists,
people fight with their relevant / specialized skills (in offices / corporations, hospitals, institutions, schools, markets, etc).
All these arena are indeed highly similar, there are honor and rules of conduct to follow and abide by;
and as long as one continues to constantly learning to enhance his / her skills and enlarge his / her wisdom,
s/he will do well.

3. Super fine attention to details, a commitment to one’s career / project.
The reflections of water on the street with a moving shadow.
The thundering rain, the splashing water, the drops of water / blood.
The swirling smoke, the macro visual of dried tobacco leaves wrapped inside the cigarette stick.
The beautiful pristine white snow effects that can make audience feels the bone chilling coldness.
The splintering glass at s…l….o…w motion.
Frames and frames: e.g. the snow covered tree on both sides of the wooden residency of the Gong Grandmaster.
I put my hat off to Wong’s attentiveness to color palettes and the talent of the French cinematographer Phillipe Le Sourd.
After all, a movie is a collection of pictures that move, that’s why movie is also known as moving picture;
and the men behind The Grandmaster seem to make every picture beautiful at super fine level.
4. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I always love the classic make-up of the 1930s.
The women (referring to the courtesans in cheongsam / qipao 旗袍 in the movie) have curly hair which is time-consuming to maintain in today age, but the effect is glamorously stylish.
They also have thin line eyebrows that are bending like the crescent moon.
I would refer to such a fashionable look of that era as the Ruan Lingyu’s look.
However, some people comment to me that the thin line eyebrows make them look vulnerable and pitiful.
The women express through all their bodies the sorrow, pain, grief provoked by life.
They also imply some mysteries and desires that entice people, including me a modern woman of the 21st century!
Perhaps, women with doe eyes and tiny faces are the most suitable to adopt the Ruan Lingyu’s look, from the perspective of style.

5. The themes of love, loss and the passage of time are prevalent in Wong Kar Wai’s movies, including The Grandmaster.
Even heroes and heroines are not spared from the human experiences of aging, falling ill, and death;
they are often emerging as heroes and heroines due to the tragic of human experiences such as natural disasters, wars, and death of loved ones.
No matter what happen, we want to cherish our love now,
before we loss some people who are truly dearest to us.

6. While we love many things (including people who are dearest to us), we must practice the art of detachment.
To quote Bruce Lee, "My instructor, Professor Yip Man, head of the wing chun school, would come up to me and say: Let your mind, the basic reality, do the counter-movement without any interfering deliberation. Above all, learn the art of detachment."
I will share about how to love and detach in harmonious ways in the near future.

7. Have you ever wondered why artistic movies often have sad endings?
In the movie, Yip Man’s wife died without seeing him after he moved to HK and Gong Er (inspired by female legend, Shi Jianqiao) could only keep Yip Man in her heart since Yip Man is a married man and Gong has vowed not to marry ( 獨行道) for the sake of revenging for the death of his father.
The tragic of life has appeal to the viewers,
人生如戏,
that is why movies, especially artistic movies, explore themes such a ‘tragic fate’ persona.
but we can also create our own real movie that has a happy ending,
let us be a master director of our ‘fate’.

Related:
http://cinemainterruptus.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/movie-review-the-grandmaster-yi-dai-zong-shi/
http://moonlightknighthk.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/meanings-of-the-grandmaster/
http://feelpositive.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/the-grandmaster/

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Written by blueroselady

April 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm

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