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Dragon Inn
(Long men kezhan)

Directed by King Hu.
With Polly Shangguang Lingfeng, Bai Ying, Miao Tien.
Taiwan, 1967, DCP, color, 111 min.
Mandarin with English subtitles.
DCP source: Janus Films

King Hu’s first film made in Taiwan after leaving Shaw Brothers, Dragon Inn is a rousing period tale about a heroic trio who defy the ruthless secret security forces of a despot to protect a family of political exiles. An exquisite game of cat-and-mouse ensues as each side tests the martial skills of the other. With his new freedom, Hu invigorates the swordplay genre by drawing on Beijing Opera traditions, choreographing the film to the percussive rhythms of the traditional stage. He also began to assemble a group of loyal actors whose careers he helped launch. One of these actors, Miao Tien, would go on to appear prominently in Tsai Ming-liang’s films, including Tsai’s tribute to this phase of Hu’s career, the poignant Goodbye, Dragon Inn. – David Pendleton

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