A Touch of Zen – Part 1

A Touch of Zen starts off with a mini sequence of a spider entangling it’s prey in a spider-web with fog consuming the area. This opening shot presents a sort of horror/mystery/thriller kind of tone for the film that immediately engaged me and made me wonder what the film would be about. It is only later in the film, do we realize that this opening sequence is a foreshadowing to a central theme of the film.


A Touch of Zen’s cinematography is very captivating and beautiful. During the slow moments of the film, I found myself still engaged with the film because of the beautiful shots that King Hu incorporated into the film.

From rocky, mountainous terrains…



To wheat grass fields…


To even a bamboo forest…


King Hu’s use of scenery and cinematography contributes very well to the mood/ tone of the film that he is trying to portray during different moments in the film. For example, during the opening sequence with the spider, fog and dark lighting, we get a dark and mysterious feel. When our female character and her companions travel across the rocky, mountainous terrains to get away from her enemies, the scenery contributes to the feel that they have taken a long, grueling journey to stay alive. When Gu makes the long journey through the mountains to try to find Yang, we get a feeling that he is very much in love with her to make such a long, hard journey to find her. Overall, I think King Hu’s attention to detail and planning paid off very well in the end.


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