Cover

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King Hu's A Touch of Zen

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p. iii

Copyright

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p. iv

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Series Preface

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pp. ix-xi

The New Hong Kong cinema came into existence under very special circumstances, during a period of social and political crisis resulting in a change of cultural paradigms. Such critical moments have produced the cinematic achievements of the early Soviet cinema, neorealism, the...

Acknowledgements

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pp. xiii-xiv

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-16

A Touch of Zen is one of the essential films of the Chinese-language cinema. It achieved a “double first”: it was the first Chinese-language film to win an award at the Cannes Film Festival, in 1975, and the first...

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2. Pu Songling and the Spider

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pp. 17-28

In chapter 1, I have given a sense of the unprecedented scale on which the production of A Touch of Zen was undertaken, and the extraordinary advantages that Hu enjoyed under Union which he exploited to make his mark as a free, creative artist. The large scale may seem surprising...

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3. Ghosts and the Desire to See

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pp. 29-50

A Touch of Zen begins with the proposition that the Chinese fort where the bulk of the story takes place is a haunted place and that the xia n

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4. Seduction and Politics, Fight and Flight

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pp. 51-76

In this chapter, we pick up on the scene of Yang Huizhen’s seduction of Gu Shengzhai which takes place under moonlight in a water pavilion, part of the grounds of the “haunted” general’s mansion. To entice him there, Yang had...

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5. The Battle of the Haunted Mansion

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pp. 77-90

Part 2 of A Touch of Zen contains the title Lingshan jianying (literally, Sword’s Shadow on the Divine Mountain)1 , an indication of Hu’s Zen theme. Depending on one’s point of view, Part 2 is either flawed by this need to...

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6. The Zen Finale

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pp. 91-106

In the aftermath of the Battle of the Haunted Mansion, the film moves on to its fantastic-marvelous phase. At the end of the last chapter, I pointed out that Yang Huizhen had fulfilled her central mission as the...

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7. Conclusion

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pp. 107-120

I began by suggesting that A Touch of Zen is a subversive work because of its feminist sensibility and sexual ambiguity. But by delivering a fantastic-marvelous conclusion that exposes us to the supernatural, the film appears to override the earthly human concerns of our sexual roles...

Appendix 1. Synopsis of Xia N

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pp. 121-124

Appendix 2. Narrative and Thematic Chart

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pp. 125-132

Notes

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pp. 133-158

Credits

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pp. 159-162

Biography and Filmography

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pp. 163-166

Bibliography

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pp. 167-172

Index

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pp. 173-179