Cutting Action : Appreciating Hong Kong's Wuxia Films Through an Analysis of Constructive Editing

Author: Peter James Gravestock

Gravestock, Peter James, 2011 Cutting Action : Appreciating Hong Kong's Wuxia Films Through an Analysis of Constructive Editing, Flinders University, School of Humanities

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Abstract

As a video editor Gravestock was inspired to conduct a comparative analysis of Western and Hong Kong film production systems to show how Hong Kong filmmakers have developed unique editing techniques to construct action. By conducting detailed analyses of fight sequences from the wuxia (wu xia pian) genre, the author has identified constructive editing techniques that are idiosyncratic to the Hong Kong film style. He has further documented how these editing techniques have developed in relation to particular influential forces: the pursuit of novelty and the drive to achieve more impressive spectacles; editing concepts that pertain to the presentation of space, time, speed and power; the oscillation between realistic and fantastic stylisation of generic feats such as the weightless leap, palm power and the casting of flying swords. The closing chapter provides a case study of the opening fight sequences from two films: King Hu's Come Drink With Me (Da Xui Xia, 1966) and Tsui Hark's Seven Swords (Qi Jian, 2005). The case study reveals that Tsui has modeled his plot, in particular the first fight sequence, upon Hu's groundbreaking movie. By appreciating the construction of action Gravestock provides a unique way of appreciating spectacular narratives whilst attempting to broaden the dialogue on the under-researched film-craft of editing.

Keywords: martial arts,martial arts films,martial arts movies,film style,Hong Kong film style,wuxia,wu xia,action movies,King Hu,Tsui Hark,Shaw Brothers,action films,editing techniques,constructive editing,continuity editing,jump cut,eye line match,kick off shot,Hong Kong,CGI,violence in film,Come Drink With Me,Seven Swords,action cutting,film editing,Chinese heroes,China,viewer cognition,weightless leap,palm power,flying swords
Subject: Screen Studies thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2011
School: School of Humanities and Creative Arts
Supervisor: Mike Walsh