Lau Kar-leung's powerful action films, which boldly integrate martial arts combat with filmmaking, have made a huge contribution to Hong Kong's film industry over the past 60 years.
To commemorate Master Lau, who passed away in June, and to pay tribute to the great director, the Hong Kong Film Archive (HKFA) is holding the exhibition "My Way, Lau Kar-leung" on the first floor of the HKFA from now until the end of December. On display are memorable stills from his films and selected film clips from his oral history interview with the HKFA in 1997, revealing details of the master's hard-fought and groundbreaking filmmaking career.
Lau was a fourth generation disciple of Wong Fei-hung and started learning Hung Fist techniques from his father Lau Cham when he was young. Lau Cham also worked in an opera troupe in Guangzhou and Master Lau, following close to his father's footsteps, started out as a stuntman in films when he was 14. His first movie was "The Young Northeast Hero" and he played in a number of Wong Fei-hung movies as a small time crook.
Lau started his film career in 1950. Over the past 60 years, he has worked as a stuntman, an action choreographer, a director, even as a screenwriter and an actor. He is truly one-of-a-kind in Hong Kong filmmaking history.
He once said, "I swore that if I ever had a chance to make movies, I would make martial arts shine... my goal is to make authentic martial arts movies that represent China." He succeeded in integrating authentic martial arts into filmmaking, an achievement that was helped by teaming up with Tong Kai for their first combined work, "The Dragon, the Phoenix", which showcased real northern and southern styles of martial arts. The film was so well-received that it established the duo as action choreographers.
Master Lau changed the old for the new, effectively blending his thoughts on action with the script and portraying actors' characters through their skill in martial arts. His creative "martial club combat", which featured authentic kung fu and carefully designed action sequences, earned him the nickname Kung Fu Leung. From then on martial arts films and Lau Kar-leung became inseparable. He also mentored numerous action stars including Wang Yu, Gordon Liu, Hsiao Hou, Kara Wai and others. With a style all his own, Lau's creations not only blew open the appetite of audiences in the 60s and 70s for action and martial arts films, but also left a lasting effect on filmmakers of the next generations.
Admission to the "My Way, Lau Kar-leung" exhibition is free. For enquiries, please call 2734 2900.
Ends/Thursday, October 24, 2013
"My Way, Lau Kar-leung" exhibition.