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10th Old School Kung Fu Fest 2023 in New York Touts Wuxia Classics

Subway Cinema's 10th Old School Kung Fu Fest, one of the cultural highlights of the year in New York City, will highlight lost classics of Taiwanese wuxia movies from April 14th to May 4th.

Subway Cinema's annual Old School Kung Fu Fest is back in New York City this April. This time they're flying through the air and chopping down fools with the biggest retrospective of Taiwanese wuxia (sword-fighting hero) movies ever seen in New York City. Wuxia movies have a long history in Chinese cinema, but when King Hu's Dragon Inn premiered in 1967, it kicked off a wuxia revival that reinvented action movies, so this year's festival is devoted to celebrating the wuxia movies from King Hu's homeland of Taiwan by going big or going home! With 12 movies on the big screen and three more online, they're showcasing everything they could find at the Metrograph Theater in Downtown New York City.

10th Old School Kung Fu Fest 2023 in New York Touts Wuxia Classics
Still from "A City Called Dragon" in the 10th Old School Kung Fu Fest

Rediscoveries of the 10th Old School Kung Fu Fest

The US premiere of The King of Wuxia, an epic documentary about King Hu, the revolutionary filmmaker who reinvented wuxia movies and turned them into high art, plus three of his best films — the monumental and unmissable A Touch of Zen, and two of his most action-packed flicks, The Valiant Ones and The Fate of Lee Khan.

All three movies in the essential Tsai Ying-jie Trilogy: Joseph Kuo's The Swordsman of All Swordsman (US premiere of the new digital restoration), The Bravest Revenge (online only), and the wild and wooly Ghost Hill.

10th Old School Kung Fu Fest 2023 in New York Touts Wuxia Classics
Still from "The Swordsman of All Swordsmen" in the 10th Old School Kung Fu Fest

Swordswomen of the 10th Old School Kung Fu Fest

So many sword-slinging heroines! We've got four films starring actress Hsu Feng (A Touch of ZenThe Fate of Lee KhanThe Valiant OnesA City Called Dragon), four starring Polly Shang-kuan (Swordsman of All SwordsmenGhost HillGrand Passion, The Bravest Revenge), and one starring the massive movie star, Josephine Siao Fong-fong (The Daring Gang of Nineteen From Verdun City) in which she's only 12 years old.

So many discoveries, from the three female Chinese opera stars, Yang Li-hua, Liu Ching, and Chin Mei playing the heroic sisters of Vengeance of the Phoenix Sisters, a 1968 movie that feels like the French New Wave doing wuxia, to megastar Brigitte Lin in the underseen Night Orchid, a 1983 Taiwanese feature film remake of a wildly popular Hong Kong TV series.

So many puppets in The Legend of the Sacred Stone, the all-puppet wuxia from the Huang family, master puppeteers who owned Taiwanese airwaves with their po-te-hi puppet storytelling in the 1980s.

Shu Qi starring in Hou Hsiao-hsien's 2015 deconstruction of the wuxia genre, The Assassin, which is also his loving tribute to the movies he grew up on.

10th Old School Kung Fu Fest 2023 in New York Touts Wuxia Classics
Still from "Night Orchid," the 10th Old School Kung Fu Fest

By the time this line-up ends, we'll all have been sliced, diced, hacked, slashed, and blasted into submission with palm power. If you're in New York City, this annual martial arts film festival is one of the highlights of the year. The festival runs from April 21st to the 30th, and the schedule and tickets are available from the Metrograph website. Tickets have been on sale in advance since March 24th. The online streaming strand of the festival runs from April 21st to May 4th.

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Adi TantimedhAbout Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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