2009 was not a great year for movies and me. Sometime early this year, I decided that I would go low on watching movies. Quite a few reasons, but the most prominent was to devote some time on the weekend to academics. Well, how much that happened is arguable, but I watched very few movies this year.
Amongst them, two I would like to mention. Two that blew me.
The first one was Ip Man, a superb movie, on the life of Ip Man, a foremost Kung Fu expert. If you are an action movie / martial arts movie buff, you should not miss this. The best part is that the movie, while delivering its full promise of startling, realistic Kung Fu (unlike Crouching Tiger) has a full-bodied, poignant story of a family man entrapped in the Japanese occupation of China near the middle of this century.
Here is my favourite scene, where Ip Man fights an upstart from the Northern provinces. The upstart has defeated all the local Kung Fu teachers and the reputation of the city is at stake. The locals proclaim that Ip Man is the one to beat if the Northerner wants to setup a school. Ip Man’s wife is unhappy about Ip Man getting into this fight (and that too in the living room) and leaves the scene.
Donnie Yen is unsurpassable as a restrained master. He is caught between the demands of the neighbours to fight and save the city’s reputation and his wife’s disinclination. He offers only measure resistance. Watch for the shot where his son cycles in and says, “Mama said if you do not attack, we will not have any vases left in the house”. Without even an appearance, the beautiful love between Ip Man and his wife, which also runs like a silent river through the movie, comes to life.
The other movie, which I had written about earlier is Local Hero. Here’s the scene where Peter Riegert first comes into the vollage of Ferness.