Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Can I Kick It? or Being, Knowing, Doing
Now, my interest in this film was as such that I deliberately avoided any of the other Ip Man films, to which I believe there are at least four others; the last of which, also released in 2013, was directed by Herman Yau, who, if you don't remember, also directed such films as the 1992 martial arts masterpiece, Best Of The Best, starring Eric Roberts, and Phillip "god-bless-his-soul" Rhee
To give a little more background on this film before I dig in with my thoughts, The Grandmaster is Wong Kar-Wai's telling of the story of Yip Kai-man, the martial artist/teacher who was said to have been the one to make Wing Chun famous, and who even more famously taught Bruce Lee. Sort of. Though the film is initially billed as the story of Ip Man from the early 1930s to around his death in the early 70s, The Grandmaster reflects on not only his life, but the lives of those around him, so much so that the film's title could have easily survived a pluralization.
This film reminded me very much of Wong's previous film, 2046 (which I consider to be Zhang Ziyi's standout role alongside her once-again exceptional co-stars Leung and Chang) in how it continues Wong's meditative examination of loss in a long-form narrative. The Grandmaster is less a martial arts film and more a film, as Gong Er could be paraphrased as saying, about a certain time in which she chooses to stay. It is almost as if one can only measure loss once it is lost, and sometimes the memory of love is as strong as love itself; and the film becomes two things, one horizontal, one vertical.