New York based retro Kung Fu film festival wrap up
New York is known for its array of niche-festivals, but our latest favorite, The Return of the Old School Kung Fu Fest, has just wrapped up at the Anthology Film Archives in New York’s East Village. The 3 day flash-back to 70s and 80s Kung Fu films from Asia, was a showcase of the original genre that helped launch the careers of Kung Fu artists like Bruce Lee and Gordon Liu.
Known for their colour and kitsch, the films held true to their reputation for having a relaxed kind of censoring which, naturally, inspired some pretty offbeat and far-fetched story lines. It’s all what makes this genre an amazing example of cult cinema and inspiration for film makers like Quentin Tarantino in creating the Kill Bill volumes. Films like Challenge of the Masters and The 36 Chambers of Shaolin which were among the set list for the festival, have been spoken widely about by the Rza in influencing him while he was forming the Wu Tang Clan in New York City in the early ‘90s.
This year, for first time, the festival also included an exhibition of poster art by local comic book artists and illustrators, based on this year’s lineup of films, and hosted at the Anthology Film Archives. We loved that the films were refreshingly under-produced, with little-to-no special effects and had a don’t-hold-back style, which all made for a totally unique film festival.
Subway Cinema, who present the festival each year, are an ongoing source of everything happening in martial arts film in New York and also host the annual New York Asian Film Festival, coming up this summer.
By Eleanor Findlay