SEVEN SWORDS PRODUCTION NOTES
"The most intriguing and important weapon in the wuxia culture is the sword. The wielding of a sword and the art of swordplay unifies a man and his weapon, creating a distinguishable identity, and giving a simple piece of blade, a spirit of its own."
Tsui Hark (Producer/Director/Writer)
ABOUT THE STORY
In the early 1660’s, the Manchurians took over the sovereignty of China and established the Ching Dynasty. With many pro-nationalist revolts occurring, the newly set-up government immediately imposed a ban on the study and practice of the Martial Arts; forbidding them altogether in an attempt to gain effective control and order. Fire-wind (Sun Honglei), a military official from the previous dynasty, sees this as an opportunity to make a fortune for himself by helping to implement the new law. Greedy, cruel, and immoral, Fire-wind ravages and ranges across North-western China with his next goal to attack the final frontier; an intransigent and hold-out town known as the Martial Village.
Fu Qingzhu (Lau Kar-Leung), a retired executioner from the previous dynasty, feels a moral obligation to try and put a stop to this brutality and decides to save Martial Village. He convinces Wu Yuanyin (Charlie Young) and Han Zhibang (Lu Yi) from the village to travel with him to the far away and mystical Mount Heaven in order to seek help from Master Shadow-glow (Ma Jingwu), a hermit who is a master of swords and leads a group of disciples with unimaginable swordsmanship. Master Shadow-glow agrees to help, and orders four of his best disciples to go. Together with Chu Zhaonan (Donnie Yen), Yang Yunchong (Leon Lai), Mulang (Duncan Chow), and Xin Longzi (Tai Li Wu), their heroic journey begins. Representing heroism and goodness at its finest, they come to be known as the SEVEN SWORDS. Returning to Martial Village, they soon decide for safety’s sake to move and lead the entire village to a safer place. Soon confusion reigns as they discover that their food and water has been poisoned, and that all of the escape routes have been marked with signs leading the enemy directly to them. They realize that there must be an undercover spy in their midsts; but who is it? The SEVEN SWORDS must identify the mole before Fire-wind’s army gets to them; otherwise all will be lost. With so many things going wrong and stuck between a narrow gap of life and death, the situation is further complicated by the emergence of an unexpected and unwelcome love triangle...
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Since the release of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the year 2000, Chinese martial arts films, better known as ‘wuxia’ in Chinese, have become a new phenomenon in filmmaking; sweeping audiences worldwide off their feet and taking them to a whole new dimension in action, heroism, and storytelling. Tsui Hark, one of the most acclaimed directors of martial arts action films has created many new styles for the genre with its best known titles such as Swordsman, Swordsman 2, New Dragon Inn, and Once Upon a Time in China. Each one set different standards and milestones and created new inspiration for his peers. It was only a matter of time before the industry and audiences alike wondered when Tsui would tackle the genre again and create a new and unique wuxia film.
“Wuxia literature is an art and culture of its own. It has a long history and plays a very important role in the development of the Chinese culture, creating a great diversity in our philosophy. They are imaginary stories developed from our everyday lives, expressing the spirit of justice, heroism, and humanity”, says Tsui Hark.
And what makes the imaginary wuxia world so fascinating? “Wuxia is a romantic belief of a better world, an ideal world, where heroes exist amongst us, offering justice and protection to those who do not have the power to defend themselves,” explains Tsui. “It’s a deed requiring you to challenge yourself, performing unleveled courage, showing ability with hope, and knowledge with faith.” In the past few decades, the development of wuxia filmmaking has gone through various trends. Up to now, the spread of martial arts culture is so unchecked and the rendering of swordplay films is so commonplace that changes must be introduced. “Changes happen when a particular style is over-exploited, it ultimately reaches its limit. Heroes are so idealized and exaggerated, they end up coming off as ridiculous instead of heroic,” notes Tsui. “I’ve wanted to try a different way of telling an imaginary story, presenting a fantasy world in a more realistic way and formulating a hero that we can relate to. I want to show that a hero also has limits and weaknesses instead of side-stepping that angle. And by showing the strength it takes to overcome obstacles in order to achieve something bigger, the impact is far stronger than just showing the act of heroism.”
The most important element in wuxia literature is martial arts. Colloquially known as “wushu” or “kung-fu”, martial arts developed from the living environment combined with literature, physical requirements, and most importantly of all; the extension of a dream, creating a different dimension for our imagination. SEVEN SWORDS marks a new beginning in the culture of swordplay. Seven extraordinary swords will play a decisive role in the story. While recent films of this genre heavily depended on wires, visual effects and CGI, SEVEN SWORDS is going back to the basics, focusing on realism and authentic martial arts fighting. “I think wuxia literature is one of the greatest heritages we have in our culture,” continues Tsui, who’s always had a great passion for these stories of heroism, “by jumping out of tradition, I hope to bring a new inspiration and dimension to wuxia films, creating a new vision for audiences to see on screen, and to re-introduce this great treasure of ours to new generations.”
FINDING THE STORY
When Tsui Hark came across author Liang Yu-sheng’s classic wuxia novel Seven Swordsmen from Mountain Tian after it was first published in the 70’s, he had always wanted to someday turn it into a feature film. He found the mythic story filled with power and revelation; the intensity of it gave the director a deep impression. “The book appears to be a typical wuxia story, but then I found it to be so much more,” he says, “SEVEN SWORDS is very different from other wuxia literature. This story focuses heavily on swords; how a sword is created, giving it its natural characteristics; how the connection and the discipline of a swordsman can change the power of a sword; the impact a sword can create with the owner at different stages; it goes into detail about swords, which is also a culture of its own. This topic has never been fully explored in any of the other wuxia films before, and I think it best expresses the soul of wuxia. ” Continues Tsui : “For years I’ve been in search of the right story from which I could make another wuxia film; a story where I could truthfully build this imaginative yet surreal world, to fully deliver the true spirit of the culture. Then I realized the story has always been in my mind. What makes Liang’s story such a masterpiece, is that it’s about seven swordsman each going through different internal journeys and how they overcome their weaknesses, discovering their potentials, uniting together and ultimately representing a strong force, fighting against the injustice of a powerful sovereignty. It’s not just a story about heroism; it’s about how heroes are made.”
Tsui Hark immediately began to envision Liang Yu-sheng’s epic tale as a motion picture. “The book itself makes an irresistible case for adaptation to the screen,” he notes, “it has honorable heroes, their journey of transformation, a purpose, a series of obstacles, and Mount Heaven itself, which stands in for a time and a way of life that has been lost. At its heart, the book has an intriguing and enduring expression of the spirit of unity; being able to sacrifice yourself as an individual for a bigger cause.” In adapting the screenplay, Tsui Hark knew he’d have to set out on his own unique journey and bring his own vision to Liang’s classic story. Nobody understands the danger associated with adapting a novel that is widely read and beloved more than he does. Having adapted many screenplays from novels of the genre, Tsui translated many classic stories to the screen, surprising audiences and critics alike with his cinematic evocation of the sweeping themes of wuxia literature. Tsui’s screenplay based on the original, “Seven Swordsmen from Mountain Tian” concentrated on the coming together of the SEVEN SWORDS, each driven to unexpected courage and strength by love, friendship, spirit of justice, and the longing for a peaceful and harmonious world. The script earned Liang Yu-sheng’s blessing, which was essential to Tsui. Sums up producer Ma Zhong-jun, who is a writer himself and was very impressed by Tsui’s adaptation effort and abilities, “Tsui was able to make his adaptation completely his own without ever violating author Liang Yu-sheng’s intent. He has re-imagined and re-created the whole world of the book into his screenplay. It has everything that’s valuable and worth treasuring in the story, a story of love and heroism, but also an odyssey that tests its main characters in every possible way.”
THE CAST AND CHARACTERS
From the beginning, Tsui Hark committed himself to finding the right cast for SEVEN SWORDS’ intensely vivid heroes, heroines, and villains. While it was vital to Tsui to capture the unique sense of the wuxia world through locations, designs, and the action choreography, none of it would mean a thing unless the characters were brought to life by the cast.
“Often I write a character with an actor already in mind, but I still spent a lot of energy on casting for this film, making sure that I’d found the right person for each character,” said Tsui. “The process helps me better understand what kind of film I want to make, seeing how one face or the characteristics of an actor would work, and why another won’t. For SEVEN SWORDS, as we were casting what amounted to a collection of characters, I went further, picturing different sequences, seeing if the faces would work with one another.” Tsui Hark says that this was particularly true when considering the seven major roles that ultimately came to be the SEVEN SWORDS. “The main concept of SEVEN SWORDS is the power of unity. The story is about how a group of seven swordsman come together, joining forces to fight against evil. While each character is very different from each other with each having their own strengths and weaknesses, because of their unity, they are able to further extend each other’s power.”
Legendary Hong Kong action figure, Lau Kar-Leung, was cast as Fu Qingzhu (The Unlearn Sword). A retired executioner from the overthrown Ming dynasty, Fu has killed many innocent people in his prior position, and is looking to repent his soul. When Fu learnt of Fire-wind’s plans to attack the Martial Village, he went to Mount Heaven to seek help from Master Shadow-glow, resulting in the formation of the SEVEN SWORDS. Being the eldest, wisest, and the most skilled swordsman, he is the spiritual leader of the group, representing ‘wisdom’. “Fu Qingzhu’s character is an old swordsman who has experienced life and is a master in swordplay; all the other swords looks up to him” says Tsui “and incidentally, Lau plays that role in the film industry. He has been in the trade for over fifty years, with extensive knowledge in martial arts and filmmaking and we all look up to him. He fits the profile of this character perfectly.”
Chu Zhaonan (The Dragon Sword) is played by international action star, Donnie Yen, who recently appeared in the critically acclaimed “Hero”. The eldest disciple of Master Shadow-glow, Chu is a strong, confident, and skillful swordsman. Due to his tough childhood and drifting youth, Chu holds an unclear source of anger against the world, and tends to act on impulse. As the eldest with the most powerful sword, Chu automatically becomes the leader of the SEVEN SWORDS, representing ‘offense’. When Donnie Yen was approached with the project, he immediately jumped at the opportunity of working with Tsui Hark again, having last collaborated together more than twelve years ago on “Iron Monkey”, which led him to international fame. “We have always wanted to work together again, but never found the right project,” Yen recalls. “When I read the screenplay, I knew this was it. Never have I come across such a moving story with such powerful impact. It is not like any other wuxia story, with a simple storyline of a heroic swordsman seeking vengeance or justice; it’s about love, hate, friendship……all human emotions you could possibly think of. It digs deep into what makes us human, and what makes our existence.” Yen saw the role of Chu Zhaonan not only as an opportunity to work with Tsui Hark again but also as a rare chance to further explore himself as an actor. “The action part is easy for me, I’ve been doing martial arts all my life but being able to play a role as complex as Chu is really a new challenge,” he says. “He’s a wild and mysterious man with a lot of energy inside him that could take him to either extreme. When the SEVEN SWORDS went down Mount Heaven to save the village, Chu saw it as a chance of breaking out, a chance to prove and see what he’s really made of, not knowing what he wants to achieve. In the process, he finds the meaning of true love and friendship, and ultimately finds himself.”
While Chu Zhaonan is a hot-blooded passionate warrior, Yang Yunchong (The Transience Sword), played by Hong Kong megastar, Leon Lai, is the extreme opposite. Yang’s father was a member of an underground band of rebels, “The Heaven and Earth Society”, that secretly planned to revolt against the Manchurian government. Wrongfully accused of betrayal, he was killed by his own brothers. With his last breath, he made Yang promise that he would never seek revenge for him, thus Yang hid in Mount Heaven, distancing himself from the world, hoping to find forgiveness and inner peace. Calm and rational, Yang represents ‘defense’. “In the beginning, Yang was unwilling to leave Mount Heaven; he just wanted to go on with his quiet life,” says Tsui, “but ultimately he decided to go, out of loyalty to his friends and in the spirit of justice. As I was sculpting this character, I immediately thought of Leon. He does not look like your typical wuxia figure, and that’s exactly what the character portrays.” Best known for his performances in contemporary romances, Leon Lai saw the role of Yang Yunchong as an alternative challenge to his acting career. “I think every actor strives to present himself differently each time on screen,” says Lai, “I’ve never played an action role before, let alone a wuxia hero, and getting to work with Tsui Hark, who is the best director in making films of this genre, it’s an opportunity of a lifetime I couldn’t possibly miss!” Lai continued, “What I found to be the most fascinating part of the story was how all of the inner struggles and growth of each character is depicted so vividly. It’s a story about how a hero exists in each and every single one of us, no matter how ordinary we are, and when the time comes, it will appear to show you the extraordinary things you are actually capable of.”
Wu Yuanyin (The Heaven’s Fall Sword) was originally a male character in the novel and rewritten to be a heroine in the adapted screenplay. Played by versatile Hong Kong actress, Charlie Young, Wu is a simple village girl who was orphaned at a very young age. Wu has very low self-esteem, not knowing what her abilities are and how far they can go. After she meets Fu Qingzhu, he helps her to identify who she is, and what purpose and meaning she can bring to her life. She overcomes her inner fears and ultimately shows confidence and unleveled courage. Wu represents ‘discipline’. For Young, getting into Wu’s character meant an exciting chance to fully abandon herself to the rhythms of martial arts and her more primal, earthy side, that the audience has rarely seen on screen before. Explained the actress, “I’ve never been in an action role before and have always looked up to action actors. I think it’s amazing that they’re able to memorize all the fight sequences, and at the same time, still act out the drama.” Continued Young, “I also found Wu’s inner growth very close to home. When I first joined Hong Kong cinema, I was unsure of where I was headed. Similar to how Fu helps Wu discover her potential, Tsui Hark helped me find where my position is in the business and how I can further develop my career. I can understand the struggles Wu has inside, and could totally relate to the journey of her transformation.”
For Han Zhibang (The Deity Sword), the filmmakers cast China heartthrob, Lu Yi, to play the honest and passionate swordsman that represents ‘reincarnation’. “I was so excited when the project was brought to me. What could be more fun than horse-riding and fighting with swords?” Lu recalls. And that was exactly what Lu got a taste of in signing on to SEVEN SWORDS. In order to play the role of a natural and native horseman and to fight convincingly with the heaviest sword, Lu Yi had to undergo the toughest training of all. “It was physically exhausting, but I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Newcomers Duncan Chow who recently starred in the successful Taiwan film, “Formula 17”, and Tai Li Wu, a Peking Opera performer from Taiwan, are cast as Mulang (The Celestial Beam Sword), and Xin Longzi (The Star-Chasers Sword). Characters of two different extremes, Mulang is optimistic and outgoing, always able to view the world from a positive perspective, representing ‘unity’, while Xin Longzi, an orphan brought up by wolves is a quiet loner, representing ‘power’. While the two characters share a very close bond in the story, the two actors have also developed a very tight friendship behind the camera. “Tai began Peking Opera training when he was eight, so he knows the tricks to a great action performance and I was able to learn a lot from him,” said Chow. Tai further observed, “Xin seems cold on the outside but actually has a warm heart, in real life, I’m actually more like Mulang, and Duncan’s personality is closer to Xin’s, thus we had a very interesting experience working together.”
After the casting for the SEVEN SWORDS was done, Tsui Hark faced the real challenge of finding the perfect actor to portray the villain, Fire-wind. “Fire-wind is like a ruthless businessman; everything he does is for the purpose of survival, even if it means hurting innocent people,” says Tsui. “He does not have a high regard of himself, he doesn’t enjoy doing the things he does, but society requires him to become the cold-blooded figure he is in order to survive, so he’s simply following the rules of the game set by the system.” To play this complex character, the filmmakers cast award-winning actor, Sun Honglei, to deliver the difficult performance. Sun who recently appeared in “Zhou Yu’s Train”, opposite Gong-Li, is deemed one of the best actors in China. “I have always been biased against wuxia films. I tended to find the genre to be unrealistic, but after reading the screenplay, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” said Sun. “Fire-wind is the role I’ve been waiting for. I’ve played many different villain characters, but he’s completely different from what I have done in the past. On the surface, he seems like the ordinary bad guy, lost in greed and lust, but deep inside, there’s so much life, depth, and layers to him.” Sun continues, “Fire-wind is a very sad and lonely man. His inner world is very simple but what he projects on the outside is so complex. He doesn’t know what he lacks and what he needs, he feels this hollowness inside and he’s constantly filling it up with wealth and power. The sad truth is that what he is looking for is very simple, he craves for love and friendship, priceless things that he does not know how to get. If he had these things, he wouldn’t be the person he is.”
In addition to the main cast in the film, the long list of diverse roles provided a number of opportunities for first-rate actors and newcomers to appear in SEVEN SWORDS. Included were well known Korean actress Kim So Yeun as the tragic Green Pearl who is enslaved by Fire-wind after her village is ravaged; newcomer Zhang Jingchu as Liu Yufang, the adamant school teacher and daughter of the Martial Village’s leader; veteran actor Jason Lau as Liu Jingyi, the leader of the village; and action actor Chi Kuan Chun as Qiu Dongluo, the deputy to Liu.
Tsui summarizes, “The film encompasses such a large canvas, we are truly fortunate to have the participation not only of seasoned veteran actors, but so many of today’s interesting, wonderful, and talented young performers.”
Director Tsui has felt for some time that the traditional and long-standing style of martial arts choreography in films has become stale with its formulaic visual design, technique, and concept, and consequently needs to be reinvented. While there are many divergent styles of martial arts action design, in SEVEN SWORDS it is presented in an unusual manner with a completely new concept. Wuxia literature often tells the story of one or many swordsmen seeking vengeance or justice, thus making the sword the most important weapon in the wuxia culture. A sword is a weapon in which the slightest motion can generate the most destructive offensive force in the shortest period of time. A sword is unpredictable due to the distance between its body and its tip, as well as the minute changes in the angle and strength of the swordsman’s wrist. It is not like any other weapon, of which the offensive force hinges on its weight and length. The skill of a swordsman is closely related to his idiosyncrasies, sub-consciousness and training. If the swordsman is broad and noble-minded, he would wield a sword like a king. It is for this reason that the sword is often hailed as the “King of Weapons”.
With the goal of creating a new “wuxia language”, it was crucial that Tsui Hark found the right action team to take up the difficult task of choreographing the complicated sword fighting involved. The first name that came to his mind was legendary action filmmaker, Lau Kar-Leung. “Lau and I have known each other for many years and I have always been a big fan of his work,” said Tsui. “When it comes to authentic kung-fu fighting, Lau is the person you want to find.” Respected as “Master Lau” by the younger generation and deemed as a legend by his peers, Lau Kar-Leung played a very important role in the development of the Hong Kong film industry, having reigned as the box-office champ in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s with his kung-fu classics such as 36th Chamber of Shaolin. With credits in over 400 films over a span of fifty-three years of filmmaking , Lau has mastered virtually every styles and school of martial arts, successfully incorporating them into his films. “This is probably the most challenging job I’ve ever taken on in my career; not only do the actors have to undergo heavy martial arts training but all the stuntmen need to be re-trained in order to fulfill this task,” said Lau.
Led by Lau Kar-Leung, the action team includes veteran action choreographer Xiong Xin Xin and additional action choreography by Tung Wai. “By focusing on authentic martial arts fighting, we are showing the reflexes we call upon in a real life and death situation,” said Xiong (this being his fourteenth collaboration with Tsui Hark). “All of the characters in the story are skilled martial artists, but there is a limit to how much a human body can do, so we stay rooted, not going beyond the physical limit.” Continued Xiong, “Each sword has its own characteristics, but the way the sword is used and the energy it projects also differs when used by different people, thus making the action choreography especially complicated in this film. Take for example The Dragon; it’s very sharp with a flexible blade. When its owner, Chu Zhaonan uses it, there’s a mystical power to it. The human eye is unable to catch the speed of its strike, and the opponent is unable to predict what direction it may take. In a scene where Fire-wind gets hold of The Dragon, he uses it in a totally different way. Fire-wind viewed it to be the most powerful sword; it brought out the most primitive and darkest side of him whereby he felt invincible and empowered and his strikes were quick and strong- but they were predictable.” Says Tsui, “We want to take the audience to a new level of experience, giving them a different perspective of viewing the wuxia world and its characters.” Lau adds, “As we are not relying on special effects, every detail needs to be thoroughly thought out and designed. By going back to the basics, we are showing the audience the authentic and fascinating beauty of martial arts.”
THE LOCATIONS AND DESIGN
One of the most important tasks for Tsui Hark was finding the right locations where he could create and capture the world of SEVEN SWORDS. There were three major settings: The Martial Village, The Bowei Fortress, and most importantly, Mount Heaven which is located in Xinjiang, a province located in the far north western part of China. “Mount Heaven plays a very important role in the story : its where the SEVEN SWORDS came together. It’s a landmark representing Xinjiang; legendary and magical. Therefore, right from the beginning, I decided that I wanted to shoot the entire film in its original location,” says Tsui. Tsui Hark set out on a quest traveling throughout Xinjiang, in order to match his vision of the world so beautifully painted in Liang Yu-sheng’s novel with the utmost authenticity and realism. Tsui further explains, “As a director, it’s important not only to capture the heart of the story, the performance of an actor, but to support all that in the most visceral and pungent way that I can in terms of the environment and the most perfect inflected vision of the world of the characters I can find.” Hence, for several months, Tsui and his production team searched for the right places to shoot the film. “When we first arrived in Xinjiang, we realized what a huge place it was. The weather changed a lot, so it was very important that we found a more stable area for us to build our sets,” Tsui recalls.
As the filmmakers were passing through Michuan, a city located outside of Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, they came upon a piece of untouched land that captured the landscape close to the picture of the world of SEVEN SWORDS that Tsui had already drawn out in his mind. What further impressed the filmmakers was that it gave them the sense of traveling back in time to a simpler, primal, land-based way of life. In rural Xinjiang, the world is rough hewn and handmade, subject to the constant shifting vagaries of weather and nature; it was just the environment they needed to create the Martial Village. After finding the place to locate Martial Village, the filmmakers traveled on deeper into Xinjiang in search of the place to build Fire-wind’s base. The filmmakers found Da Ma Ying in Turfan, which is located in the Gobi Desert. “While Martial Village was a peaceful farming village, Bowei Fortress needed to project the exact opposite. Survival in the desert is never easy, and placing Bowei Fortress there emphasized the toughness and coldness of it,” says Tsui.
In collaborating with the artists who designed the costumes, weapons, and sets for SEVEN SWORDS, Tsui Hark had one priority, bringing all the characters to life, immersing the audience in the surreal yet realistic atmosphere of the wuxia world he wanted to create. Nobody felt this imperative more strongly than award winning Art Director, Eddy Wong, who has worked with many visionary Asian directors of his generation. “For Martial Village, we wanted to emphasize the nature of its primitiveness and peacefulness and also have Xinjiang’s traditional look,” says Wong. “It needed to be a fully functioning village, so no detail was overlooked.” Wong continued, “For the Bowei Fortress, in order to express the cold-bloodedness of its owner, we used black and dirt brown as its color, giving it a rusty metallic look, to create this “castle of greed”. The Bowei Fortress stands in stark contrast to the peaceful green of the Martial Village; It shows the most primitive lust and ugly desires of human nature.” Tsui summed it up saying, “Through the Martial Village and the Bowei Fortress, we project a civilized and primitive society, a realism that people of modern day can relate to; in contrast, our intent it to create a magical and mystical imagery for and through Mount Heaven.”
THE SEVEN SWORDS
Master Shadow-glow leaves behind the mundane affairs of the world and goes hermit among the peaks of Mount Heaven. After spending several decades in the mountains, he became a great master of sword-casting and successfully casts seven precious swords. They are: The Unlearn, The Dragon, The Transience, The Star-chasers, The Celestial Beam, The Deity and The Heaven’s Fall. The seven swords represent the seven states of period and mind that Master Shadow-glow experienced on Mount Heaven. Each one of them bears a different meaning.
Fu Qingzhu The Unlearn
The Unlearn sword is stark black, long, and flexible, allowing for endless changes, making its movements totally unpredictable. One needs strategy when using it. The sword has its own special aura and it does not kill easily. The user must have wisdom and intension. One can feel its existence very strongly and the wind it raises can injure people, as if it were an air gun. Should there be dust or raindrop in the atmosphere, the Unlearn Sword would be even more powerful.
Chu Zhaonan The Dragon
Made of gold and copper, The Dragon has a soft and supple tip which can be flexed. The handle is sphere-shaped, capable of changing the direction of the sword at will and thus rendering the weapon’s flexibility. The sword is so sharp and powerful that a strong shock would be generated when it cuts apart other swords. The reacting force is absorbed by a small ball whirling inside the handle. The sound of The Dragon hitting another sword can shatter a third sword in the vicinity. Even if the Dragon Sword is only unsheathed, the frequency of the drawing sound can shake the sword out of the opponent’s hand. While the sound of the sword serves as an alarm to alert people that it is coming, enemies would tremble upon hearing it.
Yang Yunchong The Transience
Cast from a stony meteorite, The Transience feels like bronze and the surface is uneven with tiny grains that can reflect light. With the kite-shaped reflective steel beads on the body, a rainbow halo can be seen when the sword is swayed. Although it is an extremely blunt sword, The Transience Sword is able to resist the sharpest weapon in the world. A defensive weapon of the highest grade, it can restrain The Dragon. As long as there is a glimpse of light, The Transience will shine. In the glare, before the enemy can clearly see the whereabouts of its tip, the sword would have already arrived and cannot be evaded.
Xin Longzi The Star-chasers
It is a sword used by both hands. A fringe made of steel wires is attached to the handle. At the end of the steel wires are small meteor-like iron beads. The sword is used to attack and resist, the fringe is also used to attack and resist. The Star-chasers can be thrown out and retrieved and is normally girded in front of the user’s chest. Master Shadow-glow tailor-made the Star-chasers for Xin Longzi. As Xin is a man without restraint, the meteors are designed to contain him. When he fights in a normal manner, the meteors can help him. But when he gets crazy, the meteors will hit him and his frenzy can be checked. In the Bowei battle, Xin goes so far that he is constantly hit by the meteors. He soon learns to duck the blows and discovers that the meteors can actually help him. When he withdraws the sword, two meteors can enmesh the arm of an enemy.
Mulang The Celestial Beam
Being the brightest one among the seven swords, The Celestial Beam becomes brighter and shinier in the course of fighting. It is an offensive weapon comprising a pair of long and short swords. The user would try to get as close as possible to the enemy and applies the twin swords alternately or simultaneously. The extent of the sword movement is large and, by shifting its center of gravity constantly, the sword’s position can be changed at an incredible speed.
Han Zhibang The Deity
A huge sword used to open up mountains; it represents a new life, simplicity and perseverance with fierce offensive power. Although the sword embodies the anger of the swordsman, it is full of vibrant vitality. If it is to be compared with The Dragon, the two swords actually represent two extremes. Despite its ultimate sharpness, the Dragon Sword would have to strike three times before it can sever the thickest section of The Deity.
Wu Yuanyin The Heaven’s Fall
Having lived on Mount Heaven for six years, Master Shadow-glow practices austerity by casting swords. He has cast over a thousand swords with different styles and functions. However, when these swords are compared with The Deity, they are inferior in both shape and spirit. One day, as usual, Master Shadow-glow watches the clouds and mountains from afar. Out of the blue, a stream of clouds plunged down like a waterfall, drawing a frozen line across the sky. Master Shadow-glow is suddenly enlightened with the fact that The Deity is too primitive and is thus restrained in both shape and spirit. In a bid to break the confines of The Deity, Master Shadow-glow melts a hundred swords to cast The Heaven’s Fall.
ABOUT THE CAST
DONNIE YEN (Chu Zhaonan)
Donnie Yen appeared in the worldwide hit Blade 2, where he also acted as the action choreographer for the film. He is recently seen in internationally acclaimed director Zhang Yimou’s Hero with Jet Li, which topped the US Box Office. Born to martial arts masters, Donnie Yen began to practice martial arts at a very young age. His mother began teaching him the art of Tai Chi at the age of four, and as he grew up, he went on to experiment with various martial arts, from Tae Kwon Do to Wushu. Donnie Yen was invited to train in Beijing when he turned 18, and there he met his next mentor, the now internationally acclaimed action choreographer Yuen Wo Ping, who introduced him to Hong Kong Cinema and changed his life eternally. Donnie got his first film role in Drunken Tai-Chi, directed by Yuen Wo Ping, in 1984 when he was only 19. He made his breakthrough with the role of General Lan in Tsui Hark’s Once Upon a Time in China II. His finale scene with Jet Li now still remains to be one of the best-watched fights today. Donnie went on to make his directorial debut in Legend of Wolf, which not only made outstanding box-office performance, but also created a new diversity in his film career. In 2000, Donnie Yen made his American film debut as the immortal Jin Ke in Highlander: Endgame. He’s also starred opposite Jackie Chan in the box-office hit Shanghai Knights.
LEON LAI (Yang Yunchong)
Leon Lai won the 2002 Taiwan Golden Horse Award for Best Actor for his outstanding performance in the highly acclaimed horror film, Three, where he portrayed an obsessive husband trying to revive his dead wife with Chinese medicine. In 2003, he appeared in the final installment of the high profile franchise that created a box office sensation all over Asia and international markets, Infernal Affairs 3. He recently starred alongside Asian pop diva, Faye Wong, in Leaving Me, Loving You, a story and script he created and wrote. Leon Lai was born in Beijing and brought up in Hong Kong. After returning to Hong Kong from his studies in England in 1985, Leon Lai entered himself in the 5th annual singing contest and won 3rd place. His potential was immediately recognized and thus began his performing career. He made his breakthrough in 1990 with his first album, becoming an immediate hit, and ultimately winning him “Best Newcomer” in the Hong Kong annual music awards. He went on to release many albums which all achieved record breaking sales, earning him the nickname “King of Pop”. While making record breaking albums, Leon Lai also starred in numerous popular TV dramas and over thirty five films. His acting was finally recognized in Comrades: Almost a Love Story starring opposite of the fabulous Maggie Cheung, in which he earned nominations for Best Actor in both the Hong Kong Film Award and the Taiwan Golden Horse Award. A versatile performer, Leon Lai has achieved sensational success in both singing and acting. He has also shown his talents behind the camera, directing several of his own music videos throughout the years, mixing contemporary settings with special effects. Other notable film works include: Heroic Duo, City of Glass, and Fallen Angels.
CHARLIE YOUNG (Wu Yuanyin)
Charlie Young was first cast in a jewelry commercial with pop idol Aaron Kwok in 1993, and thus began her versatile career. Within a year, she appeared in various movies including acclaimed director Wong Kar-Wai’s Ashes of Time, and released her first album which won her “The Most Promising Newcomer” award. In the following four years, while continuing to release albums both in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Charlie further developed her acting career by working with various directors, including Butterfly Lovers by Tsui Hark, Intimates by Jacob Cheung, and once again worked with Wong Kar-Wai on the film Fallen Angels. Charlie Young’s achievement in fame and success in just a span of four years created a phenomenal following. However, just when she reached the peak of her career, Charlie decided to take a break to pursue her real interests---Image Consulting. While busy developing her business, she had never forgotten about acting, she provided her voice for both Tsui Hark’s animation Xiao Qian and Disney’s Tarzan. Charlie Young has returned to the big screen, she is recently seen in Jackie Chan’s latest box-office hit, New Police Story.
SUN HONGLEI (Fire-Wind)
Deemed as one of the best actors in China, Sun Honglei first started out as a lead singer in a band, performing in pubs back in his hometown, Harbin. After graduating from The Central Academy of Drama, Sun first acted in various stage dramas. His outstanding performances landed him his breakthrough role in his first TV drama, Yongbu Mingmu, where he successfully portrayed an assassin. He then went on to star in internationally acclaimed director Zhang Yimou’s The Road Home. His versatility and ability of “disappearing” into his roles has earned him various best actor awards. Sun Honglei recently appeared in the critically acclaimed Zhou Yu’s Train (released by Sony Pictures Classics), starring opposite famed Chinese actress, Gong Li.
LU YI (Han Zhibang)
Lu Yi started acting when he was only five, where he was accidentally cast as one of the child actors in his first film Chuanshuei Dingdong. After graduating from The Shanghai Academy of Drama, Lu found his breakthrough role in TV drama, Yongbu Mingmu, as a lost boy struggling with drug addiction. His successful portrayal not only turned him into a star, it ultimately won him Best Actor and Most Popular Actor award in the annual TV Golden Eagle Awards. Lu Yi has further showed his talents in singing with his debut album released in 2003. A versatile performer, Lu Yi is considered to be one of the most bankable stars in China.
KIM SO YEUN (Green Pearl)
Kim So Yeun gained phenomenal fame with her famous role in Korean TV drama, Anchorwoman, playing a vicious calculating woman who’s willing to go to the extremes in order to make it to the top. Though young and beautiful, Kim So Yeun has starred in various Korean TV dramas taking very diverse roles proving her acting abilities.
LAR KAR-LEUNG (Fu Qingzhu)
A veteran filmmaker, Lau Kar-leung has been in the film business for over fifty years, having made over four hundred movies as director, action director, and actor. Respected as a master of his time, Lau Kar-leung began practicing martial arts with his own father, a student of the legendary Wong Fei Hung, since he was eight. He began his career as a stunts choreographer and actor, and in the 60’s, he permanently changed the face of kung-fu filmmaking when he teamed up with Chang Cheh and Jimmy Wang Yu to make the classic, The One-Armed Swordsman. Being the first stunt choreographer to ever cross over as director, Lau Kar-leung began directing his own films, including 36th Chamber of Shaolin which turned the lead, Gordon Liu, into an action star, and many more. With his extensive knowledge of different styles of martial arts, Lau Kar-leung is famous for being able to deliver a dramatic scene through kung-fu fighting. Having created many different styles for the martial arts action genre, Lau Kar-leung plays a very important role in the development and the history of Asian filmmaking. Recent work include: Drunken Monkey and Drunken Master 2.
ZHANG JINGCHU (Liu Yufang)
Graduated from the prestigious The Central Academy of Drama, Zhang Jingchu has gained fame by appearing in several popular TV dramas. Her recent performance in Peacock, the directorial debut of famed China cinematographer Gu Changwei, has critics naming her the next prominent Chinese actress to crossover to international fame. Peacock was awarded the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival 2005.
TAI LIWU (Xin Longzi)>p>Considered one of the most prominent new generation Peking Opera performers from Taiwan, Tai Liwu impressed director/producer Tsui Hark in one of his performances, thus was invited to star in Seven Swords.
DUNCAN CHOW (Mulang)
Duncan Chow began first as a model in Hong Kong, and after completing his college education in New Zealand majoring in psychology, Duncan returned to Hong Kong and was soon discovered to star in several movies including, I Do, which gained him initial fame and awareness. Chow moved to Taiwan to further pursue his acting career, and after appearing in several high profile TV dramas and hosting one of the highest rating entertainment news shows, Chow hit true stardom by starring in the critically acclaimed Taiwan film Formula 17, where he successfully portrayed a homosexual struggling with life, love, and identity.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
TSUI HARK (Producer/Director/Writer)
Tsui Hark was the first Hongkong film director to serve as a jury for the 57th Cannes Film Festival in 2004. An internationally-acclaimed visionary director, Tsui Hark started making experimental films with 8mm film when he was only 13. After graduating from University of Texas at Austin, majoring in filmmaking, Tsui Hark returned to Hong Kong in 1977 and started working as a director in television. A year later, Tsui directed his film debut, The Butterfly Murders. The film raised a lot of attention, and was hailed by many as the start of a new wave in Hong Kong cinema. After making numerous critically and box office successful films, Tsui Hark co-founded his own production house “Film Workshop” with his wife, Nansun Shi, in 1984. The company has become one of the most successful production companies in Hong Kong, having produced now deemed timeless classical series such as A Chinese Ghost Story, A Better Tomorrow, Once Upon a Time in China and Swordsmen. Considered the master of kung-fu action films and a legend, Tsui Hark’s Swordsman, Swordsman 2, New Dragon Inn, and Once Upon a Time in China, created a new era and standard for the “wuxia” genre that has now become a worldwide trend in filmmaking.
CHEUNG CHI-SING (Associate Producer/Writer)
Cheung Chi Sing began his film career in 1982. He started as a production assistant with Directer Allen Fong Yuk Ping and soon began to display his talent with scriptwriting. His work includes In the Line of Duty 4, Danking Bull, Crime Story, Dick & Harry and A Fighter's Blues etc. In 1993, Cheung became a director/writer and directed such films as I've Got You, Babe, I Wanna Be Your Man, Love and Sex among the Ruins, U-Man and I do.
CHUN TIN NAM (Writer)
Chun Tin Nam, graduated from New Asia Research Institute with A Master of Arts (Chinese History) degree and from the University of Paris-VII with a Master of Arts (Chinese history) degree. He is a writer in poetry, novels, TV series, movies, and comics. He is also a senior editor and a columnist in local newspapers. Chun began his scriptwriting career in 1981. His works include 2 Young, Sword, Waiting, Dark October, Micius`s Love, The Mad Man, Corporal Punishment and Coolie Killer.
RAYMOND WONG (Executive Producer)A producer, screenwriter, and actor, Raymond Wong has been in filmmaking for over twenty years with extensive credits in over one hundred films. Wong began his career as a scriptwriter in the TV series, Wong Fei-Hong, Legend of a Chinese Kung-fu Master, and later on wrote his first film script For Whom to be Murdered (1978). As well as being a scriptwriter, Wong also began to establish his reputation as a producer of family entertainment and popular comedies. In 1980, Wong founded Cinema City Co., Ltd. With Karl Maka and Dean Shek, which produced phenomenal hits, including the Aces Go Places series, ‘Till Death do we Scare (1982), Papa, Can You Hear Me Sing? (1983), and The Occupant (1984). Not only did Wong contribute the scripts to most of these films, he also appeared as lead actor in several of them. Wong is perhaps best remembered for his role in The Happy Ghost (1984) and its sequels. In 1988, he scored yet another hit with The Eight Happiness, which he produced and starred in. In 1991, Raymond Wong founded the Mandarin Group which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and produced a long list of box office hits, including All’s Well End’s Well Too, Bride With White Hair I & II, Chinese Feast, Phantom Lover and Tristar.
HONG BONG CHUL (Executive Producer)
Hong Bong Chul is the CEO of Etland21 (one of the largest electrical appliances and electronics supply chain in Korea) and the Chairman of Boram Entertainment, Inc. in Korea and Tara Contents, Inc. in Japan. He is the Executive Producer of the Korean film Two Guys (2004).
ZHANG YONG (Executive Producer)
Graduated with a MBA degree from The University of Wisconsin in US, Zhang Yong was the editor of the People Daily Newspaper (overseas version) from 1986 to 1991. He was the Managing Director of various multinational companies in Beijing from 1991 to 2005. Zhang is also a member of Enterpriser Association and Assistant Supervisor of Enterpriser Association in Beijing.
LEE JOO ICK (Producer)
Managing Director of Boram Entertainment, Inc., an upcoming production house and artiste management company in Korea, Lee Joo-ick’s latest film project “Two Guys” is directed by acclaimed Korean director Hun-Su Park, starring Tae-Hyun Cha, who previously starred in the box-office hit “My Sassy Girl”, which received wide positive reviews and box-office success in Korea. Lee Joo-ick also executive produced “Big Show” which was a co-production between Japan and the US, and “KT”, which was a co-production between Korea and Japan.
MA ZHONG JUN (Producer)
Managing Director of Ciwen Productions, Ma Zhong-jun is one of the most renowned scriptwriters in China, having written scripts for film, TV, and stage throughout the 70’s and 80’s. Ma crossed over as a producer for both TV and film in the 90’s and went on to produce numerous highly-acclaimed quality titles.
PAN ZHIZHONG (Producer)
Chief of Script Committee of the Ministry of Culture at the end of 1970`s, Executive Chief Editor of Chinese and Foreign Film Magazine in 1980`s, Pan is currently the Director of Audiovisual Publishing House of China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, Chairman of Bureau of Directors of Oriental View Group, Chairman of Board of Directors of Wide Band Service Co., Ltd. of China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, and General manager of Zhonglian Fortine Audiovisual Supermarket Co., Ltd.
LAU KAR LEUNG (Action Director)
A veteran filmmaker and an icon in Hong Kong action cinema, Lau Kar Leung has been in the film business for over fifty years, having made over four hundred movies as Director, Action Director, and Actor. Respected as a master of his time, Lau Kar Leung began practicing martial arts with his own father, a student of the legendary Wong Fei Hung, since he was eight. He began his career as a Stunts Choreographer and Actor, and in the 60’s, he permanently changed the face of kung-fu filmmaking when he teamed up with Chang Cheh and Jimmy Wang Yu to make the classic, The One-Armed Swordsman. Being the first Stunt Choreographer to ever cross over as Director, Lau Kar Leung began directing his own films, including 36th Chamber of Shaolin which turned the lead, Gordon Liu, into an action star. With his extensive knowledge of different styles of martial arts, Lau Kar Leung is famous for being able to deliver a dramatic scene through kung-fu fighting. Having created many different styles for the martial arts action genre, Lau Kar Leung plays a very important role in the development and the history of Asian filmmaking. His recent work include: Drunken Monkey and Drunken Master 2.
KEUNG KWOK-MAN (Director of Photography)
Keung Kwok-man was nominated for Best Cinematography in the 2004 Taiwan Golden Horse Awards for One Night in Mongkok. He was also nominated in the same category in the 2000 Hong Kong Film Awards for A Fighter’s Blues, which starred Asia’s megastar, Andy Lau, and in the 2000 Taiwan Golden Horse Awards for his work in Double Tap, which starred the late Hong Kong legendary singer and actor, Leslie Cheung. One of the top action film cinematographers in Hong Kong, Keung Kwok -man began his career as a stuntman in Jackie Chan’s first western film, The Protector, and went on to work as a camera assistant and gaffer on various films, eventually becoming a Director of Photography in 1991 on the film Poisonous Web. In a span of twenty years in the business, Keung Kwok-man has provided his talent in over fifty films, having collaborated with many critically-acclaimed Hong Kong directors and working in various genres. This is his sixth collaboration with Director and Producer, Tsui Hark, following their last collaboration on Black Mask, which starred international action star Jet Li. His extensive credits include: Once Upon a Time in China V, New Dragon Inn, The Blade, Fist of Legend, Columbia Asian Production’s So Close and Inner Senses.
STEPHEN TUNG WAI (Action Choreographer)
Action Choreographer Stephen TUNG Wai is a multi-talented filmmaker who has taken part in almost one hundred films in his various capacities as an Actor, Director and Action Choreographer. Trained in the traditional Peking Opera discipline, Tung Wai’s career has spanned three decades since the early 70’s and has collaborated with Director Tsui Hark on several of his most well-known action films such as “The Blade”, “Once Upon a Time in China” and “Shanghai Grand”.
XIONG XIN-XIN (Action Choreographer)
Xiong Xin-xin started his film career in 1987 working on the highly respected Action Choreographer and Director Lau Kar Leung’s team as a stuntman. He has also been a stunt double for various now internationally acclaimed stars including Jet Li and Chow Yun Fat. Best known for his breakthrough role on screen as “Club Foot” in Tsui Hark’s Once Upon a Time in China III, Xiong Xin-xin has developed his career both on screen as an Actor and off screen as a renowned Action Choreographer. Widely deemed as one of the best in the trade in his generation, his trademark of realism fight choreography has gained him popularity in both the east and the west. Xiong Xin-xin, crossed over to the west in 1997 working on Tsui Hark’s first Hollywood film, Double Team, as the Stunts Choreographer, and from then on, he has worked on as action choreographer in several Hollywood films including Simon Sez, The Musketeer, Half Past Dead, and Extreme Ops. This will be his fourteenth stint with Tsui Hark following their last collaboration on Columbia Pictures Asian Production’s Time and Tide.
EDDY WONG (Production Designer)
Eddy Wong has been nominated for Best Art Direction in the Hong Kong Film Awards eight times, and won three times for his work in The Phantom Lover, which starred the late Hong Kong legendary actor and singer, Leslie Cheung; The Soong Dynasty, which starred the fabulous Maggie Cheung and Michelle Yeoh, and Chinese Odyssey 2002; which starred Hong Kong top actor Tony Leung Chiu-wei and pop diva Faye Wong. His collaboration with Tim Yip in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ultimately won the Oscar Awards for Best Art Direction in the year 2000. Eddy Wong began his career as an art assistant in 1992; his first film was Jackie Chan’s box-office hit, Crime Story, where the film won Best Art Direction in the China Film Awards. His extensive credits include Columbia Pictures Asian Production’s Double Vision and So Close, Jackie Chan’s Who am I and Wayne Wang’s Chinese Box.
POON WING YAN (Costume Designer)
Costume Designer Yan Poon graduated from the world-famous Central St Martin’s College of Art & Design before returning to work in Hong Kong as a costume designer for TVB, the most popular local television station. Her talent was soon recognized and was sought after as an Image Designer for many singers, including working on a MTV for Denise Ho when she met Director Tsui Hark.
SHIRLEY CHAN (Image Designer)
Considered one of the top costume designers for film in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China, Shirley Chan has over 20 years of working experience and more than 80 films to her credit. Chan graduated from the French fashion design school L’Ecole De La Chambre Syndicale De La Couture Parisienne in 1977 and started her career in Hong Kong as a fashion designer. She began working in the entertainment industry in 1980 and have worked with many of the biggest directors in Asia, including John Woo, Tsui Hark and Jeff Lau, among many others. She has also worked with just about every top actor from the region, including Jackie Chan, in Police Story II, City Hunter, Gorgeous, and The Accidental Spy; Jet Li, in Fong Sai Yuk I, My Father is a Hero, The Bodyguard from Beijing, and Hitman; as well as Michelle Yeoh in The Touch, and Chow Yun Fat in The Killer and Once a Thief. She won the Best Costume Design award at the 1986 Taiwan Golden Horse Awards for her work in A Chinese Ghost Story, directed by Ching Siu Tong and produced by Tsui Hark. That year she was also nominated for her work on another film, Legend of Wisely, starring Sam Hui and Joey Wong and directed by Teddy Robin Kwan. She has received two other Golden Horse nominations, and one nomination at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
KENJI KAWAI (Composer)
Kenji Kawai was recently honored with the prize of “Digital Contents of the Year (2004)”, and “Best Music Composer” in the 10th Commemoration Premiere AWD Awards for his work in the Japanese animation Innocence. Best known for his work in the Japanese animation, Ghost in the Shell, Kenji Kawai has composed music for over 300 features. Kenji Kawai studied music in Shobi Music Academy, but left after a year and a half to form the band, MUSE, which specialized in fusion rock. After leaving MUSE, Kenji Kawai began to compose music for TV commercials out of a studio set up in his own home. His work for radio actor Yuji Mitsuva’s play was a turning point in his career. Through this project, he met Director Naoko Asari who recommended him to compose original soundtracks for animation features, and thus led Kenji Kawai to a whole new frontier.
ANGIE LAM (Editor)
Angie Lam won the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Film Editing for her work in Stephen Chow’s recent box-office smash, Kung-fu Hustle, and previously won the best editing award in the 2002 Milan International Film Festival for her work in the horror movie Big Head Monster, directed by Cheang Soi. She also received nominations in the same category in the Hong Kong Film Awards for Zhang Yimou’s Hero, Ringo Lam’s Full Alert, and The Rapist, produced and directed by Cha Chuen Yee. With credits in over fifty films in a span of almost twenty years working in Asian cinema, Angie Lam is deemed as one of the best film editors in the Chinese-language film industry, having collaborated with many critically acclaimed filmmakers in Asia. She began her film career as a post production coordinator on Hong Kong legendary action star, Sammo Hung’s Eastern Condor in 1987 with Boho Films Co., and went on working as an editing assistant for several years, landing her first post as Film Editor in 1993 on the film Iron Monkey, produced by Tsui Hark, and directed by Yuen Wo Ping . In the same year, her work in Taichi Master won her a best editing nomination in the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards. SEVEN SWORDS will be her 21st stint with producer/director Tsui Hark, following their last collaboration on Xanda. Her other extensive film credits include House of Flying Daggers, Black Mask 2, Columbia Asian Production’s Time and Tide, Knock-Off, Tsui Hark’s Once Upon a Time series, New Dragon Inn, Fong Sai Yuk 2, and many more. Her recent works include Love Battlefield, Sound of Colors and Sky of Love.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION COMPANY
FILM WORKSHOP was founded in April 1984 by Tsui Hark and his wife Nansun Shi. Already a renowned director with a string of box office hits behind him, Tsui wanted to create a workshop where foremost Asian film-makers could work on films worthy of their artistic merit, and at the same time commercially viable for the films’ investors. Tsui’s wish was realized when Film Workshop’s first picture SHANGHAI BLUES turned out to be both a critical and commercial success; as were the two subsequent films which Tsui directed: WORKING CLASS and PEKING OPERA BLUES. At this time, Tsui invited other film directors to join the Company. With Tsui producing, John Woo directed A BETTER TOMORROW, which grossed over US$4.5 million locally to set a new record as the highest-grossing picture. Tsui also produced Ching Siu-Tung’s box office wonder A CHINESE GHOST STORY, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 1988 Avoriaz Festival in France, and the Best Film Award at the 1988 Oporto Festival in Portugal.
1990 was a vintage year for costume drama. Both SWORDSMAN and A CHINESE GHOST STORY II were traditional sagas updated with computerized special effects and gravity-defying martial arts. Consequently, they turned out to be box-office successes in Asia and the western market, setting swordplay action dramas in flight to new heights. In 1991, ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA successfully revamped a folklore hero Wong Fei Hung into popular legend. A CHINESE GHOST STORY III maintained its success both in the commercial market and film festivals (...) In 1993, six films were made. Continuing on the success of working in China, three were again shot on location: ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA III and IV and GREEN SNAKE. IRON MONKEY, directed by Yuen Wo-Ping, THE MAGIC CRANE, directed by Benny Chan and THE EAST IS RED, directed by Ching Siu-Tung, completed the year’s slate of films. THE LOVERS, based on the Chinese classic love story and ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA V were both produced in 1994 (...)
(...) Again setting new trends, Tsui produced MASTER Q 2001, combining 3-D characters and live-action in the new millennium. He also produced and directed THE LEGEND OF ZU, the first Hong Kong movie that had over 1,000 computer-generated shots. BLACK MASK 2, the action-science fiction movie was also produced and directed by Tsui and shot entirely on location in Bangkok. In October 2001, THE IRON MONKEY, produced by Tsui Hark in 1993 was theatrically released in the US in over 1000 cinemas and grossed over US14m. In answer to the demand for Chinese martial arts films in the international market, Film Workshop produced THE BEAUTIFUL LEGEND (aka THE ERA OF VAMPIRES or TSUI HARK’S VAMPIRE HUNTERS), an action-horror movie filled with exciting sword play and imaginative martial arts sequences in 2002. A “reality” Chinese Martial Arts film XANDA, with genuine champion fighters demonstrating their skills on screen, is completed in 2003. Venturing into co-production and distribution with a more international context, Film Workshop Co. Ltd. has a slate of upcoming projects to be produced by Tsui. SEVEN SWORDS, a co-production between four countries : China, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong was shot on location in Xinjiang province, China and will be released in the summer of 2005.
Beijing Ciwen Film & TV Production Co Ltd
Founded in September 2000, Beijing Ciwen Film & TV Production Co. Ltd. is a multimedia company engaged in film, TV and advertising production and distribution. It has produced over 800 episodes of TV programs, and 9 movies and telefeatures. Beijing Ciwen is well known for its quality production that covers a wide range such as wuxia drama series, love stories, contemporary city life, love comedy and classic drama comedy. Major productions include Jing Yong’s classic “The Legend of the Condor Hero”, a 42-episode drama series with stunning visual effects; “Love for a Lifetime“, a highly-rated 35-episode love story; and “Farewell Love” etc. Other productions include Liang Yu Sheng’s wuxia classic “Wandering Hero”, love comedy “Double Cannons”, contemporary drama “Guys and Girls”, and classic drama comedy “Happy Hero”.
Boram Entertainment, Inc.
Boram Entertainment, Inc., is an upcoming film production and talent management company based in Korea. Its latest production is the feature film “Two Guys” which was released with great success in Korea in July 2004, starring Park Joong Hoon 朴重勳 (Two Cops, Two Cops 2) and Cha Tae Hyun 車泰鉉 (My Sassy Girl) and Han Eun Jung 韓恩晶, directed by Park Heon Soo 朴憲洙 (Nine Tailed-fox 九尾狐, Real Man). The company is developing several projects with foreign companies and also manages top talents such as Park Joong Hoon朴重勳 and Hyun Bin 玄斌and other new comers. Mr. Lee Joo Ick, Managing Director of Boram, also executive produced a Japanese-American co-production film, “Big Show” in 1999 and KT, a Japan-Korea co-production film in 2001.
City Glory Pictures Ltd
City Glory Pictures Ltd is a fully owned subsidiary company of City Glory Holdings Ltd, a company engaged in international trade and industrial investment. It carries out its business in the US, the UK, Australia and China, and has offices in Shanghai, New York, London and Sydney with over 2,000 employees worldwide. City Glory Pictures Ltd is the cultural industries area of the group and focuses its business in the culture-related area. Relying on the strong financial standing of the Group, City Glory Pictures Ltd, is at the development stage of and is concentrating on the planning and investment in the production of movies and TV dramas. The company intends to further expand into the subsidiary products of films, distribution and exhibition, including managing and re-building cinema circuits.
source : www.pathefilms.ch