The History of Kung Fu Movies

I've been sitting here in a cabin near Taos, New Mexico, doing some writing.  I hurt my knee, so this seemed like a good place to get some bodywork and extra sleep.  There is a beautiful hotsprings right on the Rio Grande about 20 minutes from where I'm staying.  I've been getting a significant amount of writing done everyday.  The guy in the next cabin over, however, seems to have gone off his meds.  He was been talking on what I thought was the phone, but now I gather is somekind of radio.  Talking, well, it doesn't seem like there is anyone on the other end answering back, although he keeps refering to the person on the other end of the line as the "dude."  He wanders between nuclear contamination measurements to talking about a curtain over a painting, to worrying about someone who hasn't attended cooking school.  His hours of activity are 7 PM to midnight, the last four days, I estimate about 20 hours of talking.  Anyway, it isn't much of a bother because I'm getting my work done earlier in the day and then heading to bed early.  But weird none the less.

Anyway that isn't why I decided to blog.  I was writing about history and I realized I didn't know much about the early history of Kung Fu movies so I went to Wikipedia and found some pretty good articles.  Here are two of them.  Shaw Brothers Studio  and Hong Kong Action Cinema.  What I gather is that as the staging of violence and other sorts of fun were being supressed and even banned in live theater more people were learning how to read and it fostered this type of popular liturature called wuxia, which is all about fantastic martial arts heros.  Some of the first fiims made in Shanghai were adaptations of these novels, which by 1930 were banned by the Nationalist (they used to call that fascism) Government.  The movie industry then moved to British Hong Kong where Cantonese Opera stars were available for staging fights in this new type of filmic liturature.  

I was also delighted to find this link from Ben Judkins to the Foshan Opera Musuem.  It looks really cool.