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Return to People Archive D - K
King Hu
April 29, 1931-January 14, 1997
Mandarin: Hu Jing-Chuan
(director, writer, producer, actor, editor, costume designer)
     
Biography:
     Acclaimed director King Hu was born in Beijing and received his education there, but left for Hong Kong in 1949 as the political situation intensified. Hu worked in various studio art departments and even tried his hand at acting before joining the Shaw Brothers in 1958 as a fulltime actor, writer, and eventually director. Hu's 1966 surprise hit Come Drink With Me established his reputation as a filmmaker and allowed him the opportunity to form his own studio in Taiwan. Once there, he helmed two more classics of the genre - Dragon Gate Inn and A Touch of Zen, the latter earning a special jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the first time a Chinese picture had been recognized by the prestigious organization. In addition, Ang Lee, director of the mega-hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has cited A Touch of Zen as the inspiration for the "bamboo balancing act" sequence contained within in his own famous film.
    
Later pictures of note include The Fate of Lee Khan, Legend of the Mountain, Swordsman, and Painted Skin. It should be noted that while King Hu was the original director for Swordsman, he had to bow out early in production. Poor health has been cited for his departure from the project, but many assume that the famous director had "creative differences" with fiery producer Tsui Hark. Interestingly enough, shortly before his death, King Hu planned to make a movie involving Chinese rail workers in America during the California Gold Rush. Though Hu passed away in 1997, John Woo and Terence Chang (the film's original backers) have proceeded onward with the project with Chow Yun-Fat and Nicholas Cage rumored in the lead roles. With great directors like Ang Lee and John Woo paying respect to the master in their own films, it seems safe to say that the King Hu legacy lives on. (Sanjuro 2002)
selected filmography
The Story of Sue San (1964)[director]
Sons of the Good Earth (1964)[director]
Come Drink with Me (1966)[director]
A Touch of Zen (1971)[writer/director/editor]
Legend of the Mountain (1971)[writer/director/producer/costume designer]
The Fate of Lee Khan (1973)[writer/director/editor]
The Valiant Ones (1975)[writer/director/editor]
Raining in the Mountain (1979)[writer/director]
Marriage (1980)[director]
Reincarnation (1981)[director]
All the King's Men (1982)[director]
The Wheel of Life (1984)[director]
Swordsman (1990)[co-director]
Painted Skin (1992)[writer/director/producer]
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