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Martial Arts Cinema Series at the Ottawa Art Gallery presented by Artist Howie Tsui

July 2, 2019

OTTAWA – July 2, 2019 – Selected from Howie Tsui’s list of top picks, the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) and the Canadian Film Institute (CFI) present a summer series of martial arts films in OAG’s Alma Duncan Salon. With a unique opportunity to view these iconic films on a large screen, Howie Tsui’s Mouhap Cinema, will take place on three consecutive Wednesdays in July, and is presented in the context of the touring exhibition Howie Tsui: Retainers of Anarchy which runs until September 15, 2019 at the Gallery.

The series will start on Wednesday, July 10th with One-Armed Swordsman (1967), the first of the new style of wuxia films emphasizing male anti-heroes, violent swordplay and heavy bloodletting. On Wednesday, July 17th, King Hu’s A Touch of Zen, which won the 1975 Cannes Technical Grand Prize, has been deemed breathtaking, innovative, and visionary. The series will end with Project A, on Wednesday, July 24th, a 1983 Hong Kong martial arts action comedy film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also stars in it. The program for the series is included under the Listings information below.

Each film will be prefaced with a video introduction by artist Howie Tsui, discussing his selection, the genre, and how they informed his video installation Retainers of Anarchy now on view at OAG (see excerpt here). “Mouhap Cinema is a film program I’ve selected to accompany and inform my OAG exhibition. One-Armed Swordsman ushered in a new style of graphic film-making in Hong Kong and inspired the likes of Quentin Tarantino and John Woo. A Touch of Zen is one of the classics, beautifully shot and artfully made with a focus on atmosphere that informed Ang Lee’s work.” says Tsui. “When I moved to Canada as a child, we had a video cassette of Jackie Chan’s Project A and I loved its high wire stunts, tightly choreographed action sequences and shout outs to the silent films of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.”

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Lagos, Nigeria and Thunder Bay, Howie Tsui has also lived in Ottawa. His work Retainers of Anarchy is a 25-metre scroll-like video installation that looks at life during the Song dynasty (960–1279 CE). In it, Tsui references wuxia, a traditional form of martial arts literature now seen in popular film and television. Mouhap or mou hap is Cantonese for wuxia which is Mandarin.

Howie Tsui: Retainers of Anarchy is a touring exhibition organized by OAG, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Howie Tsui’s Mouhap Cinema images and captions:

Listing information:
Series Title: Howie Tsui’s Mouhap Cinema
Dates and times: Wednesday, July 10, 17 & 24 at 7 PM
Location: Ottawa Art Gallery, Alma Duncan Salon, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa, ON, K1N 0C5, CANADA
Tickets: $10 each or $25 for admission to all three movies. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.
All films will be screened in the original language they were filmed in with English subtitles.

Eventbrite page:

Howie Tsui’s Mouhap Cinema Program
One-Armed Swordsman
Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at 7 PM

Cantonese with English Subtitles
Director: Chan Cheh            
1967 | 117 minutes
MPAA rated R

A noble swordsman, whose arm had been chopped off, returns to his former teacher to defend him from a villainous gang of rival swordsmen. Directed by Chang Cheh, it was the first of the new style of wuxia films emphasizing male anti-heroes, violent swordplay and heavy bloodletting. It was the first Hong Kong film to make over one million at the local box office, propelling its star Jimmy Wang to superstardom. The success of this film also spawned two sequels, comprising the One-Armed Swordsman trilogy.

A Touch of Zen
Wednesday, July 17, 2019, at 7 PM

Mandarin with English subtitles
Director: King Hu                                    
1971 | 180 minutes
MPAA, not rated

“Visionary” barely begins to describe this masterpiece of Chinese martial arts moviemaking. A Touch of Zen (Xia nu) by King Hu depicts the journey of Yang, a fugitive noblewoman in disguise who seeks refuge in a remote, and allegedly haunted, village. The sanctuary she and her three companions find with a shy scholar is shattered when a nefarious swordsman uncovers her identity, pitting the five against legions of blade-wielding opponents. At once a wuxia film, the tale of a spiritual quest, and a study in human nature, A Touch of Zen is an unparalleled work in Hu’s career and an epic of the highest order, with breathtaking action choreography, stunning widescreen landscapes, and innovative editing.  

Project A
Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at 7 PM
Cantonese with English subtitles
Director: Jackie Chan
1983 | 106 minutes
MPAA rated PG-13 for violence

Dragon Ma (Jackie Chan) is a lieutenant in the 19th-century Hong Kong marines. Pirates have been terrorizing local waters, with assistance from the corrupt authorities. Dragon Ma hopes to defeat the evil pirate clan led by Sanpao (Dick Wei), but his plan is short-circuited. Ma then teams with a navy admiral (Hak Suen Lau), a police captain Tzu (Biao Yuen) and a crafty thief (Sammo Hung Kam-Bo) in a new round of high-seas battles with Sanpao and his pirates.

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For media enquiries, or to book a phone interview with Howie Tsui:
Véronique Couillard
Officer, Media, Public and Francophone Relations
613-233-8699 +244

About the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG)
OAG is Ottawa’s municipal art gallery and cultural hub. Located in Ottawa’s downtown core, the expanded Gallery is a contemporary luminous cube designed by KPMB Architects and Régis Côté et associés.

OAG receives funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa.


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