What IQ did Bruce Lee have

"The Grandmaster": The man who trained Bruce Lee

A fight like a dance, like a choreography of wooing in the field of tension between attraction and repulsion, seduction and rejection, flattering caress and hard blows of the hand: When Ip-Man, the legendary Grandmaster of Kung-Fu, and his competitor Gong-Er duel, when they bring the martial arts of the south and the north into battle, it inevitably reminds one of the lovers who circled each other in a ballet of mystery and longing in Wong Kar-wai's grandiose love melodrama "In the Mood for Love".

Again, the master of the tamed emotions holds the passions in check, in a fragile balance between professional respect and emotional devotion. Like the lover in “In the Mood for Love”, Ip-Man is now married, and Gong. He cannot give himself up to a man because she has promised to take revenge on her father's murderer.

The two are played by Tony Leung, who has long since become the director's alter ego after working with Wong Kar-wai after seven films together, and Zang Yiyi, who through films such as "House of Flying Daggers" and "Tiger and Dragon “is essentially connected with the development of Eastern martial arts for the Western market and Western consciousness.

Originally it was supposed to be a film about Bruce Lee

Film director Wong Kar-wai has also dedicated himself to the absolute perfection inherent in the movements of the Kung Fu discipline Wing Chun. Ever since his first film, he had the seeds for “The Grandmaster”, in which he wanted to distill the essence of Kung Fu. Over the years the project has changed so that it can now emerge from the cocoon like a silkworm as a butterfly.

Originally it was supposed to be a film about the famous martial arts actor Bruce Lee, now he tells the eventful life story of his legendary teacher Ip-Man, which Wilson Yip has already spread in two films, and Tony Leung deliberately plays Ip-Man a way that also makes memories of Bruce Lee shimmer. Tony Leung, who is completely naughty in martial arts, trained for three years in order to be able to credibly impersonate a Grandmaster of Wing Chun. The film was shot for a year and then the recordings were put together in long editing room sessions to create an exquisite composition of images and pieces of music.

Wong Kar-wai is more concerned with a homage to the rules and principles of Kung Fu and the attitude to life from which it was created and perfected than with a chronology of the historical events in the thirties, which were filled with the horrors of the Japanese occupation and one of the war-related poverty. Nor is Wong really interested in the Hong Kong immigrants of the 1950s.

Magical pictures in extreme slow motion

The historical stations are basically just the backdrop for the breathtakingly staged battles, in which Ip-Man repeatedly takes on an overwhelming superiority. Wong Kar-wai got support from the fight choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping, who played the actors in Hong Kong classics like "Iron Monkey", but also in western productions like "Matrix" and Ang Lee's "Tiger and Dragon" through the use of Wire ropes freed from gravity.

The French cameraman Philippe Le Sourd conjures up magical images, removing details from the spatial context and the flow of movement in extreme close-up and slow motion. Splashing water droplets and scattering snowflakes develop a poetry of slowing down. At the same time, the slow motion makes it possible to even perceive the agile, rapid movements of the fighters, which remain invisible to the normal eye.

Wong Kar Wei lacks the modesty that is inherent in the Kung Fu lifestyle. He shows off breathtaking images as the true martial artists would never do with their art. Just like Terrence Malick in “To the Wonder”, the great director Wong Kar-wai now balances dangerously close to the abyss of the arts and crafts. Here, too, the void lurks behind the beautiful surfaces of a highly stylized aesthetic.