Seven Swords (2005) - A Tsui Hark Film

"The most intriguing and important weapon in the wuxia culture is the sword. The wielding of a sword and the art of swordplay unifies a man and his weapon, creating a distinguishable identity, and giving a simple piece of blade, a spirit of its own."

 

---Tsui Hark (Producer/Director/Writer)


 



About The Story


In the early 1600’s, the Manchurians took over the sovereignty of China and established the Ching Dynasty. With many pro-nationalist revolts occurring, the newly set-up government immediately imposed a ban on the study and practice of the Martial Arts; forbidding them altogether in an attempt to gain effective control and order. Fire-wind (Sun Hong-Lei), a military official from the previous dynasty, sees this as an opportunity to make a fortune for himself by helping to implement the new law. Greedy, cruel, and immoral, Fire-wind ravages and ranges across North-western China with his next goal to attack the final frontier; an intransigent and hold-out town known as the Martial Village.Fu Qingzhu, a retired executioner from the previous dynasty, feels a moral obligation to try and put a stop to this brutality and decides to save Martial Village. He convinces Wu Yuanyin and Han Zhiban from the village to travel with him to the far away and mystical Mount Heaven in order to seek help from Master Shadow-Glow, a hermit who is a master of swords and leads a group of disciples with unimaginable swordsmanship. Master Shadow-Glow agrees to help, and orders four of his best disciples to go. Together with Chu Zhaonan, Yang Yunchong, Mulang, and Xin Longzi, their heroic journey begins. Representing heroism and goodness at its finest, they come to be known as the SEVEN SWORDS. Returning to Martial Village, they soon decide for safety’s sake to move and lead the entire village to a safer place. Soon confusion reigns as they discover that their food and water has been poisoned, and that all of the escape routes have been marked with signs leading the enemy directly to them. They realize that there must be an undercover spy in their midsts; but who is it? The SEVEN SWORDS must identify the mole before Fire-wind’s army gets to them; otherwise all will be lost. With so many things going wrong and stuck between a narrow gap of life and death, the situation is further complicated by the emergence of an unexpected and unwelcome love triangle...

Adapted from renowned writer Liang Yu-Shen’s timeless classic, SEVEN SWORDS is an action-packed wuxia epic tapestry; intertwining love, betrayal, heroism, and the fascinating art of swordsplay. Starring Hong Kong megastar Leon Lai, versatile actress Charlie Young, and international action star Donnie Yen, SEVEN SWORDS is directed by internationally acclaimed visionary director Tsui Hark, from a script written by Tsui Hark, Cheung Chi-Sing, and Chun Tien-Nan, and is produced by Tsui Hark. Executive Producers are Raymond Wong, Hong Bong-Chul and Zhang Yong.
 

About The Production

A New Vision

Since the release of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the year 2000, Chinese martial arts films, better known as ‘wuxia’ in Chinese, have become a new phenomenon in filmmaking; sweeping audiences worldwide off their feet and taking them to a whole new dimension in action, heroism, and storytelling. Tsui Hark, one of the most acclaimed directors of martial arts action films has created many new styles for the genre with its best known titles such as Swordsman, Swordsman 2, New Dragon Inn, and Once Upon a Time in China. Each one set different standards and milestones and created new inspiration for his peers. It was only a matter of time before the industry and audiences alike wondered when Tsui would tackle the genre again and create a new and unique wuxia film.

“Wuxia literature is an art and culture of its own. It has a long history and played a very important role in the development of Chinese culture, creating a big diversity in our philosophy. They are imaginary stories developed from our everyday lives, expressing the spirit of justice, heroism, and humanity”, says Tsui Hark.

And what makes the imaginary wuxia world so fascinating?

“Wuxia is a romantic belief of a better world, an ideal world, where heroes exist amongst us, offering justice and protection to those who do not have the power to defend themselves,” explains Tsui. “It’s a deed requiring you to challenge yourself, performing unleveled courage, showing ability with hope, and knowledge with faith.”  In the past few decades, the development of wuxia filmmaking has gone through various trends. Up to now, the spread of martial arts culture is so unchecked and the rendering of swordplay films is so commonplace that changes must be introduced.“Changes happen when a particular style is over-exploited, it ultimately reaches its limit. Heroes are so idealized and exaggerated, they end up coming off as ridiculous instead of heroic,” notes Tsui. “I’ve wanted to try a different way of telling an imaginary story, presenting a fantasy world in a more realistic way and formulating a hero that we can relate to. I want to show that a hero also has limits and weaknesses instead of side-stepping that angle. And by showing the strength it takes to overcome obstacles in order to achieve something bigger, the impact is far stronger than just showing the act of heroism.”

The most important element in wuxia literature is martial arts. Colloquially known as “wushu” or “kung-fu”, martial arts developed from the living environment combined with literature, physical requirements, and most importantly of all; the extension of a dream, creating a different dimension for our imagination.

SEVEN SWORDS marks a new beginning in the culture of swordplay. Seven extraordinary swords will play a decisive role in the story. While recent films of this genre heavily depended on wires, visual effects and CGI, SEVEN SWORDS is going back to the basics, focusing on realism and authentic martial arts fighting.

“I think wuxia literature is one of the greatest heritages we have in our culture,” continues Tsui, who’s always had a great passion for these stories of heroism, “by jumping out of tradition, I hope to bring a new inspiration and dimension to wuxia films, creating a new vision for audiences to see on screen, and to re-introduce this great treasure of ours to new generations.”

 

Page 2 : Finding The Story & Cast and Characters

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