Behind the Scenes: Production Behind Films

Throughout history, human beings have always found new and interesting ways to express themselves. The form and content of our expressions contribute significantly to our culture. Towards this end, new mediums of expression and communication have been created throughout the ages. Popular knowledge holds that it started with cave paintings and moved onto language which was recorded in the form of scriptures. In the modern age, many new discoveries and inventions precipitated new forms of expression. Most noteworthy of these are the new media formats of photographs and videos.

Video perhaps is the most accessible form of media. Even the lowest common denominations of society are usually able to comprehend video content despite their lack of formal schooling. This makes the method of audiovisual communication a good option to reach the masses. Even among video content, there is a great deal of variety. Videos can be in the form of simple vlogs that don’t involve much editing. Or, they could take the form of professionally made content created by film studies.

The latter is usually of much more interest due to the variety of interesting filming techniques applied. The high production quality is usually immediately evident. A-list actors, photo-realistic computer-generated special effects, excellent screenplay and writing are all hallmarks of big budget films.
Creating a feature-length Hollywood blockbuster is certainly an onerous task involving the efforts of an innumerable number of people working in different fields and tackling different aspects of film production. For example, a casting director selects the actors who will feature in the film, the make-up artists and costume designers model the appearance of the actors to fit the film, the lighting crew adjusts the lighting conditions on set, set directors to figure out the dynamics of the set, how it’ll be made as well as select the props that’ll be featured on it, etc. Basically, the creation of just a single movie is the combined effort of a cast and crew so vast that most don’t even realize just how many people it takes to make a make a movie.

Most people are usually only familiar with the lead actors and the directors of a movie. However, behind the scenes, there is an innumerable number of people working in the studio to bring the director’s vision to life. The credits scene is usually the only time we get to appreciate all the men and women who toil in the entertainment industry to bring larger than imagination movies to life.

Many things which we assume are not given much consideration are actually addressed to a meticulous degree. For example, most people don’t appreciate the creative approach make-up artists and sound artists have to take to implement their art. We simply see and appreciate the final result without considering the effort it took behind the scenes to make it. In fact, in many cases, we may not notice at all and take their work for granted. Ironically, it is when we don’t explicitly notice the work of different production teams that we can conclude their work has been commendable since this means they did their job perfectly and kept the illusion of the movie alive.

Coffee Films

Most of us think that movies can only fit into a few genres. Action, comedy, drama, thriller, adventure and horror are typically thought of as the only types of movies that are made and released. While this is mostly true for blockbusters that are screened at cinema halls and multiplexes, there are also a plethora of movies that don’t exactly fit into any of these genres. One of the most prolific examples out of the less common genres are coffee films.

I don’t blame you if this genre of films sounds uncommon to you. After all, there are only a few films that have been made that carry this tag. Nonetheless, they are an important part of the world of cinema. Coffee films are quite unconventional from the get-go. The narrative of most movies revolves around a central protagonist who’s confronted with a problem early in the film and the rest of the movie is about how he tries to overcome the problem and is eventually victorious. Coffee movies, in contrast, usually put coffee front and center as the character most important to the story. The films focus on the demand for coffee, how it’s made, processed and shipped to the different parts of the world.

Some coffee films conform to this kind of an informative structure to a great degree. A great example of this sort of film would be “A Film About Coffee” which was released in 2014. True to its title, the movie describes the world’s preference for specialty coffees. It shows how coffee is prepared in the style of a typical documentary. While critics found the information that the movie conveyed intriguing, the lack of an actual story made audiences feel it was a little boring.

This wasn’t the only documentary style film about coffee. Realistically speaking, any film that has its focus squarely on coffee and shows its impact in the world usually falls under the documentary category. In 2011, a movie called “Caffeinated” was released. It showed how coffee impacted the farmers who grew it and the effect it had on the lives of people who regularly drink it. A mix of interesting cinematography and informative facts made watching this movie a fun affair.

Though most films about coffee are generally documentaries, that doesn’t mean that films that feature coffee in a more standard story don’t exist. Such movies, due to the structure of their story, can’t focus on coffee first and foremost. However, they do feature coffee as an integral part of the story and show how it affects the protagonist’s character development. A prime example of such a movie would the 2015 film “Barista” which followed the story of the competitors at the World Barista Championship. Another great entry to the genre was “The Coffee Man” which showed the journey of a man from Ethiopia to Seattle to become a world champion barista.

The best way to enjoy any of these films would be to watch them with a nice cup of hot coffee by your side. To make coffee that can rival the quality of those sold in cafe’s, you’ll need a coffee machine. A great place to pick one up from would be a site like

Nordstrom Merch For Movies

Nordstrom is a well-reputed luxury department store. People usually visit Nordstrom to buy fashionable clothes and accessories such as handbags and shoes. Being high-fashion, Nordstrom items are always in demand and the brand commands some degree of respect. While most items cater to use in general scenarios, a lot of the store’s merchandise is well-suited to be used when visiting a movie theater. Several of the stocked items are designed to boost comfort and relaxation when sitting in a hall to watch a movie.

These items, though having different forms and functions, are designed to alleviate common issues people face when watching movies. For example, movie halls are often fitted with very powerful air conditioning units which can make the theater too cold for someone who is sensitive to low temperatures. This, in turn, may cause the person to catch a cold. At a store such as the nordstrom yorktown mall, there’s a huge selection of clothes that can be worn to combat the cold. Wearing something that can keep you warm in a cold hall and improve your movie-going experience.

Another common problem that some people have when sitting in a movie hall is that looking up at the screen for long and continuous durations can strain their neck. To combat this problem, Nordstrom sells special U-shaped cushions that can be wrapped around the neck. This cushion is not only soft and comfortable but also shares the burden of supporting your head with your neck, resulting in less strain.

Some of the most popular merchandise that Nordstrom sells to movie-goers are movie themed T-shirts. These high-quality T-shirts come in bright and colorful hues with fun and witty graphics featuring characters from popular movies printed on them. While they don’t improve the movie-watching experience in a direct way, wearing a fun shirt is an easy way to show the others at the hall that you’re a huge fan of the movie that you’re watching.

Family planning films

Reproductive health films attract diverse stakeholders from all occupations. The rising cost of living and government policies determine the uptake of various family planning methods. Hormonal or non-hormonal family planning methods, a film will give you a practical look at the effects and the principles behind HSH methods for your own discretion. Health experts should direct the film since people tend to practice what they see. The narrator must give insights on all the family planning methods for the viewer to use his own discretion on the best method.

Hormonal family planning methods

Conceiving involves the work of the production of progesterone hormone which fertilizes the ova and prepares the uterus for receiving the baby. If not, a woman gets her menstrual period. Hormonal pills counter react and reverse the principle instead it releases oestrogen which inhibits the production of progesterone making you enjoy sex without the worry of becoming pregnant. The type of food increases the fertility levels of the women and that is why the natural ways are bound to fail. In a film, it shows the reproductive process and even gives the side effects of each hormonal pill. You can have the daily pill or the injection.

A once off pill “morning- after” pill consumed within 72 hours helps one-night stand individuals who have a regular cycle and so certain on their safe and unsafe days. Although, it should be used sparingly for it can lead to ectopic pregnancy (carrying a pregnancy in the fallopian tubes rather than the uterus, it is always an emergency and sometimes fatal. A film should give you the difference between a normal pregnancy and an ectopic pregnancy.

This form of family planning has adverse side effects on women with hormonal imbalance and related illnesses like the thyroid gland inflammation.

Non-hormonal family planning method

The Inter Uterine Devices (IUCDs)is a metallic rod which is placed in the cervix to prevent swimming of sperms to the uterus. It creates a barrier between the sperms and the ovum preventing fertilization. The metal is made of copper and has no side effects, recommended for individuals with hormonal imbalances. Condoms are also a good way of family planning. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control admit 70 percent of the youth population use condoms. The manufacturer admits that there is increase production of the family planning method among the young and unmarried population. The film demonstrates the use of condoms and the dos and don’ts in handling condoms as a safe family planning method.

Surgical methods

If you need to stop giving birth completely you can opt for tubal ligation for women or vasectomy for men. It involved tying the fallopian tubes and the urethra respectively. It is a non-reversible decision that requires counseling for couples to allow them to make an informed decision.

There is a myth that family planning is for the women. The truth is family planning is a collective responsibility of the couples and should be discouraged among the youth instead, they should condemn premarital sex. A film of family planning is an educative audiovisual content to alleviate ignorance and promote family planning literacy among the public.

Discover Asian Films

Wildgrounds invites you to discover Asian films of all genres. Find reviews, movies and DVD movies of the best movies in different parts of Asia. If you have suggestions or questions, feel free to reach out us. Let’s promote the rich culture of Asia through films.

Yellow Line – 1960 – Teruo Ishii

With the Chitai series, Teruo Ishii takes a long look at the Japanese shallows, where gangs, prostitution, thieves, drugs … in clear the renegades of society concentrated in an area, according to the episodes it will be Gangsters, a mafia network all powerful to finish modestly with a touch of irony on a small club managing a bargain prostitution. At the level of the actors, it will be practically always the same with headed Yoko Mihara, charismatic actress, Shigeru Amachi, a mysterious man then Teruo Yoshida, young dreamer.

For this first opus, we follow a trapped killer, here Shigeru Amachi, who on the road to his vengeance will meet a cute young woman, Yoko Mihara, a dancer to travel to Kobe for a new job she is unaware of Makes the finality. The trio is completed with a journalist, Teruo Yoshida, officially investigated on the network “Yellow Line”, but also in search of his girlfriend, kidnapped by a fugitive killer …

Loss of control

From the credits, the tone seems black, the sound background is a melancholic stroll played on the guitar of Hispanic influence, then a man explains the details of a work to a killer, the camera opens on a close-up of the Man to widen and show the two men, one face, the other back, the killer, to finally focus on a pair of keys of a hotel named “Domino” in close-up. With an opening like this, Teruo Ishii clearly states the scheme of his film, it shows us the essential in a few minutes. From a situation apparently under control people will get lost in a labyrinth, get trapped, encounter difficulties in arriving at the final, deliverance for some, at the exit gate for others.

Anonymous encounters

Teruo Ishii has the advantage of having a complete script in which he entangles the characters, each one meets, crosses without knowing each other. He plays with the worst enemies, without the latter knowing, taking advantage of the chance. It is also because he offers us a rich gallery of characters, ranging from the saleswoman of cigarettes to the prostitute or even the manager of a shabby hotel without forgetting a shoe seller a little trolling.

On the margins of society

The climax of history lies in the Kobe Kasbah, the perfect microcosm of a world outside known borders, in which both men and cultures collide. Teruo Ishii takes care to create the parallel between this shell and the urban world presented at the beginning of the film as emotionally cold and distant, with these wide streets and telephone booths allowing a certain way to connect men with each other.

It emerges from the Casbah a strange, indeterminable atmosphere with its narrow alleyways plunged in artificial light or most often in the dark. At times, the place gives the impression of being a kind of nightmare-like dream, nobody complains or at least nobody dares to do it openly, knowing the undesirable activities of everyone. One of the few to express himself is a completely drunk fallen poet, who in the rain in the middle of the street sells his book while urinating where he can and telling his stories.

In this microcosm, protected from the gaze of justice, the power of the Yellow Line emerges. Given the context of this area, it is difficult to grasp its limits because everything seems to be corrupted and rotted by prostitution. What does this network offer? Attractive young women to foreigners. Here, the Casbah is a twilight zone monopolized by decay, neither Japanese nor foreigners emerge indifferently.

Bad period

It is surprising to see that with this first opus, Teruo Ishii arrives perfectly to describe its subject, it makes no concession to this place malfamé whose besides the rules of life, strict, do not make survivors. We can think of this young South American, at least we guessed the amount of makeup she has on her face, fell into prostitution after falling in love with an ambitious young Japanese.

We also think of our killer, he who tells us his past as an orphan brought up in poverty with as the only way out crime. In fact, individuals are left in control of their decisions, there is no standpoint in contrast to the following episodes that will attach much more to a couple of main characters. Here, once arrived in Kobe, the narration is more freely, going from the side of our killer to the forsaken to the benefit of the journalist and stopping en route to the dancer. Teruo Ishii divides his narrative without embedding it in a rough tourbillon, it keeps a logic thanks to the many encounters of characters that we have often already crossed.

Sad Ballad

A dark episode in color, with a melancholic atmosphere, Yellow Line surprises by its sobriety and its black look on the Men, there are indeed very few artifices or special effects for some ultimately anecdotal murders. What Teruo Ishii is doing is letting men face themselves, immersed in a strange and unhealthy microcosm, serving as a pretext for their worst garbage, forgetting that they are the invaders.

Vengeance Is To Golden Blade – 1969 – Ho Meng Hua

Li Zhishan (Tang Ching), the owner of a well-known escort company, was the victim of a conspiracy developed by his wife Yuexiang (Kao Pao-shu) and Long Zhentian (Li Peng -fei), an enervated competitor. Li Zhishan is obliged to flee from his home with his baby and a servant, unfortunately abandoning his famous golden sword that falls into the hands of Long Zhentian. 18 years later, his daughter Xiaoyan (Chin Ping) will by chance meet his mother, this is the beginning of trouble.

Ho Meng Hua is a director capable of touching different genres ranging from the fantasy film (the Monkey King series) to Wu Xia Pian. In general, he brings to his achievements a superb visual richness that stems from an endless imagination, one is almost always certain to enjoy. Vengeance is a Golden Blade gets much closer to Killer Darts, another of his wu xia pian performed less than a year ago. As well as the scenario with the story of a girl who will have to confront her past as well as cast level with notably Chin Ping and Yueh Hua in the main roles.

Vengeance is a golden blade - 1969 - Ho Meng-Hua

After concentrating on the darts, Ho Meng Hua opts for the blade. It must be said that in all the narratives of chivalry there is at the center of history an overpowering weapon, the golden sword is a Chinese excalibur. At that time, good numbers of wu xia pian surf more or less skillfully on this kind of story, Chang Cheh, Cheng Kang or Lo Wei also participate in this frenzy. So why not another star director from the studio like Ho Meng Hua?

As with Killer Darts, the sword is a source of trouble: death, betrayal, fear … The weapon obviously shares the characters in two clans, the good ones and the bad guys. The vouchers are reasonable and include the danger of the weapon that must be destroyed. The bad guys exploit it without worrying about the problems.

Ho Meng Hua does not take a risk, it is a banal start that allows him to anchor his characters and develop his theme properly.
Many may think of Ho Meng Hua, accustomed to the grandguignolesque, that he is not the kind to really care about his story, that ultimately his achievements are more a lovely brothel enjoyment than anything else. Yet Ho Meng Hua confirms with Vengeance a strong attachment for the characters emerging from adolescence and going to discover the world and their past. It should not be forgotten that he is also the co-writer of the story, which allows to evacuate the doubts of an umpteenth production wu xia pian of the Shaw Brothers rather tasteless and truly bland. Because of this attachment, Vengeance is clearly aimed at a fairly young public like Killer Darts.

Vengeance is a golden blade - 1969 - Ho Meng-Hua

Chin Ping embodies the girl without a past history, she grew up in the middle of the mountains with a crippled father, a grandfather, a servant and a kind of brother. She is an innocent, naive girl who knows absolutely nothing about the world. So when she decides to go for a city tour, she has to face a totally unknown universe, she has never seen so many people, it’s a new thing. But on her way she meets a mature woman, owner of a brothel. She does not know yet but it’s her mother.

Ho Meng Hua comes to nuance his words and leaves his character free to choose and understand his past. When she discovers her mother, she realizes that her father has lied to her for ever, she takes affection for her mother without seeing her vice. Then she understands why her father lied to her, so she goes back to him. The girl through her experience comes to choose on which side it must be.

With this story, Ho Meng Hua portrays an unhealthy world, the city perfectly embodies all the vices of human nature like bets, brothel, crowd. Similarly, each character represents a specific value, the father is devoted to his daughter, the mother is a vicious person … Nevertheless, the film suffers from fairly average fighting which impose itself more as obligations of the kind than as the will of the director. It is absolutely necessary to rhythm the film by fighting which in fact replace any speech supposed to serve as settling of accounts.

There are the few battles with the famous sword that attract attention, you can not miss the golden sword that breaks the other blades and blind the opponents, it is one of the only points on which Ho Meng Hua drops a bit with the scene of the burning forest.

Vengeance is a golden blade - 1969 - Ho Meng-Hua

Vengeance is a Golden Blade is not a remarkable film of Ho Meng Hua, if the story is sympathetic, it suffers cruelly from the comparison with Killer Darts, film in which Ho Meng Hua always remained on alert to place some small ideas of Its vintage. The theme of Vengeance is still nice and interesting, it is served by a rather varied history with always a few little twists to keep us in breath. Vengeance remains an honest wu xia pian fulfilling very well the hard task of entertaining us.

The Bells Of Death – 1968 – Yueh Feng

In June 1968, The Bells of Death landed on the Hong Kong screens, directed by Yueh Feng a heavy weight touches everything from the film industry of this part of the world. Both the director and his films are not very well-known in France, surprising given the quality of the work …

The story is a fairly formal vengeance, a young man named Wei Fu (Chang Yi) sees his family being massacred by three brigands, his sister is kidnapped in passing. Following this tragic event he met by the greatest chance a master of a rare martial skill who after a stubbornness on the part of Wei will become his master. Five years pass, the young man goes to perform his revenge …

The Bells Of Death - 1968 - Yueh Feng

Chang Yi, Ku Feng, Chin Ping, Wu Ma … The performance of Chang Yi is quite remarkable, I had become accustomed to see him in roles of beni -yes-yes, acting in the name of justice, here it is totally the opposite, the character is disturbed, violent out of necessity, acting on his own account. It is also interesting to see the evolution of the character, who after his training acquires a certain confidence then with the encounters that he makes during his journey, understands the suffering from another point of view.

Yueh Feng surprises. The Bells of Death is very much influenced by the Italian productions of westerns, as well as chambaras, we know that both genres are cousins, it is enough to rethink the Yojimbo of Kurosawa and the For a handful of dollars of Leone , An unofficial remake of the first. The plot of Yueh Feng’s film story is basic, a few months ago Death Rides A Horse came out with an intrigue and a similar approach to the theme of revenge: a child hidden in a corner watches helplessly at the massacre of his family by Bandits, a few years later he launches in pursuit, each of them will be killed …

The Bells Of Death - 1968 - Yueh Feng

But what is so surprising to take a story? But no, we must not doubt Yueh Feng, as a director he fills us with happiness with his very rich staging. We can remember the sudden zooms on the faces of the characters, camera movements of a fluidity enjoyment … but the highlight of the show is the fighting because The Bells of Death is indeed a wu xia pian and that should not forget it.

The staging of the fighting is very varied, Yueh Feng not only tirelessly apply a precise pattern. It is far from filming the fighting as with Chang Cheh which generally captures the whole of the action or Liu Chia-Liang which allows us to appreciate at best his complex and wonderful choreographies. No, Yueh Feng does not forget that he is in a story of revenge, his fights are filmed in the same state of mind. He thus does not dwell on the action, preferring zoomed on the face of the hero or another character with in the background the horrible noise of the suffering inflicted on the individual. The director impeccably marks the violence of history which is above all a moral affair, physical violence follows in the following plan, the blood flows like Chang Cheh, There is no restraint. Wei Fu repeats in every fight his motto “a life for a life”, the law of the eye for eye.

This moral side is already present in the sequence of introduction, a man kills an arrow in the heart of a woman fleeing, another pierces the head of a child … The setting up of his horrors is attached To the finished facts, Yueh Feng never film the action in broad plan, he lingers on the face of the bandit then shows the result of the action. What could be more atrocious than seeing a man smiling as a child crumbles miserably and without defenses?

The Bells Of Death - 1968 - Yueh Feng

Let’s go back to the fighting. I speak of influence above, the “japanization” of the fighting is very clear, especially during the fight of presentation of the master, the man surrounded by several brigands, the men launch into the attack, close-up on the master performing everything A heap of movements, silence – the attackers are motionless, the man leaves the circle continuing his way, the men fall their bodies completely hammered. Still in the same idea of influence, the way in which Wei Fu puts his saber in his shoes reminds us of the samurai, he does not put the blade back in his scabbard at first but first slips the weapon on his scabbard Store it.

Then there is the fighting against each of the brigands, each of these scenes reflects a different atmosphere. The first battle takes place in a bamboo forest, one can still see the Japanese influence, in full darkness. This bandit is a coward trying by all means to absolve himself. The second fight, my favorite, starts in a pouring rain. The villain proposes to go to another place: a temple. The fight is going to be spiced by a small detail that gives all its charm to the scene, indeed each of the fighters pose on the end of his blade a piece of candle lit. With each attack, the candles are sent into the air, plunging our two characters in the most complete black. We see nothing, we can only hear the noises. This choice of combat is of a rare effectiveness, It is as if Yueh Feng told us that this duel is the business of these two men, not ours. For the last fight, it is a question of highlighting the smallness of a man full of arrogance, who without his favorite weapons and his men, is nothing at all. Yueh Feng happens to focus perfectly on revenge, in this regard, it should also be noted that we will not see the five-year training of young Wei Fu.

The Bells Of Death - 1968 - Yueh Feng

Apart from these famous fights, there is only one sequence in which Yueh Feng films broadly a fight, the one in the beginning hostel, a particularly violent scene (decapitation, limbs cut …) but which in the background Follows the schema explained a little earlier by marking the frontal horror of the act. In the passage, we can emphasize the scenes following the main fights that are really dazzling in their brightness and their bright colors.

The last remarkable element of this film is his music, extremely close to a soundtrack of an Italian western on which Morricone would have worked. The music itself is accompanied by another sound, that of the bells of death, its symbolism that resonates during the majority of the film, in passing it can also make think of the boots of the cowboys … Besides Yueh Feng does Not just the close-ups of the eyes / faces of the Italian western, he also resumed the setting up of a tension by filming the firm steps of individuals sailing towards their destiny (a fight).

The Bells Of Death - 1968 - Yueh Feng

The Bells of Death is a surprise, a true pearl of the Shaw Brothers. His director shows us his ability to vary the pleasures of staging, there is no visual facility in this film, at every moment Yueh Feng tries to interest us, to spoil us. I can not deny that the film has defects, as at times a montage rendering a key scene incomprehensible, but there is in this film such visual richness that we quickly forget this kind of problem.

The 14 Amazons 1972 Cheng Kang

The Yang family is faithful to the Sung Dynasty (960-1279), each generation has sacrificed itself to save the honor of this dynasty, until the last generation with General Yang Tsung Pao. The latter is trapped in an ambush stretched by the Mongols, he is savagely killed. This general was the last great fighter of the Yang family, after his death, there are only widows and a young son. However, the Yang do not give up their task, the 14 women decide to go and face the Mongolian troops.

The 14 Amazons was a highly anticipated film, it was almost 30 years that it was not found or in any case difficult, and in a very average image quality. Everywhere one could read about this film that it is a great masterpiece with a hallucinating casting and its lot of cult scenes. All these praises for the film and the impossibility of seeing it in very good conditions have only increased the frustration of many spectators.

What should we expect? By leaving all the good reviews of the film on the side and looking more closely at what the film looks like on paper, it can be seen that the film feels the big production. On the realization, it is the too unknown Cheng Kang, he has realized among others The Sword Of Swords, a pearl of the masochistic wu xia pian in which he takes Chang Cheh to his own madness by pushing as much as possible the icon chang chehien by Jimmy Wang Yu, he does not glorify him, on the contrary, this hero sees his family being massacred, his fiancée being almost raped, he is mistreated as it is not possible to finally be blinded ! Cheng Kang assures us for Les 14 Amazones a spectacle of the bloodiest bathed in a remarkable staging.

At the casting level, it’s just incredible. It was known that Run Run Shaw was very proud to have given Hong Kong viewers local female stars, and in many productions he tries to place his beautiful actresses to the maximum. There is no lack of examples, since his strategy applies to a majority of the productions of the 1960s, affecting all genres of the era without distinction. The 14 Amazons is the ultimate opportunity to bring together all the prestigious big names of the time, mixing all the generations of actresses of the studio. Ivy Ling Po ( The Love Etern ), Li Ching ( West Chamber ), Lily Ho ( The Angel With The Iron Fists ), Tina Chin Fei ( The Monkey Goes West )

It would have been a pity not to use the actors, for this reason we find Yueh Hua ( Come Drink With Me ), Lo Lieh ( The Flying Daggers ), Tien Feng ( One Armed Swordsman ), Yeung Chi Hing Sword), Wong Chung Shun ( Dragon Swamp ). This distribution is ample enough to make us understand that Les 14 Amazones will not be a small serial production without ambition.

Once the film is launched, we realize the care taken to this realization by the studio. To begin with, the story is placed in context with the voice-over of a narrator and then plunges us into the bowels of a battle. The big production is becoming more and more, the hallucinating cast is complemented by a number of incalculable figures. The big battles are not a novelty for the studio, we often find a few bits of battle at the beginning of the films in the image of Raw Courage . The only exception was made by The Last Woman of Shang in which Yueh Feng had tried to go a little further, but it seems clear that the budget was too limited for this kind of idea. Cheng Kang did not have this problem, He can afford to serve us on a plane of the bloody battles that are well entrenched in the feature film, these are not small scenes quickly zapped to move on. This first battle marks the death of the great fighter Yang Tsung Pao, he fell into a trap and all around him there are only Mongolian soldiers! To our delight, there are not a dozen, no, the director does not hesitate to appeal to as many extras as possible. Yang Tsung Pao and his few soldiers are going to be literally massacred by the Mongols. For this soldier, the action is all the more heroic because he has just fought for three days and three nights. Fortunately he had taken care to send his two most faithful generals to announce the sad news to the rest of his family. These are not small scenes quickly zapped to pass in the suite. This first battle marks the death of the great fighter Yang Tsung Pao, he fell into a trap and all around him there are only Mongolian soldiers! To our delight, there are not a dozen, no, the director does not hesitate to appeal to as many extras as possible. Yang Tsung Pao and his few soldiers are going to be literally massacred by the Mongols. For this soldier, the action is all the more heroic since he has just fought for three days and three nights. Fortunately he had taken care to send his two most faithful generals to announce the sad news to the rest of his family. These are not small scenes quickly zapped to pass in the suite. This first battle marks the death of the great fighter Yang Tsung Pao, he fell into a trap and all around him there are only Mongolian soldiers! To our delight, there are not a dozen, no, the director does not hesitate to appeal to as many extras as possible. Yang Tsung Pao and his few soldiers are going to be literally massacred by the Mongols. For this soldier, the action is all the more heroic because he has just fought for three days and three nights. Fortunately he had taken care to send his two most faithful generals to announce the sad news to the rest of his family. This first battle marks the death of the great fighter Yang Tsung Pao, he fell into a trap and all around him there are only Mongolian soldiers! To our delight, there are not a dozen, no, the director does not hesitate to appeal to as many extras as possible. Yang Tsung Pao and his few soldiers are going to be literally massacred by the Mongols. For this soldier, the action is all the more heroic because he has just fought for three days and three nights. Fortunately he had taken care to send his two most faithful generals to announce the sad news to the rest of his family. This first battle marks the death of the great fighter Yang Tsung Pao, he fell into a trap and all around him there are only Mongolian soldiers! To our delight, there are not a dozen, no, the director does not hesitate to appeal to as many extras as possible. Yang Tsung Pao and his few soldiers are going to be literally massacred by the Mongols. For this soldier, the action is all the more heroic because he has just fought for three days and three nights. Fortunately he had taken care to send his two most faithful generals to announce the sad news to the rest of his family. The director does not hesitate to appeal to as many extras as possible. Yang Tsung Pao and his few soldiers are going to be literally massacred by the Mongols. For this soldier, the action is all the more heroic because he has just fought for three days and three nights. Fortunately he had taken care to send his two most faithful generals to announce the sad news to the rest of his family. The director does not hesitate to appeal to as many extras as possible. Yang Tsung Pao and his few soldiers are going to be literally massacred by the Mongols. For this soldier, the action is all the more heroic because he has just fought for three days and three nights. Fortunately he had taken care to send his two most faithful generals to announce the sad news to the rest of his family.

The Mongols are merciless, they hammer two Han soldiers still alive while dragging them on a few meters! A little later in the film they will not hesitate to burn people still alive! Blood is the appointment, it is not a few timid flows, but puddles and bodies totally red that Cheng Kang films with the greatest pleasure. As for Yang Tsung Pao, he tries in vain to fight but is just like his soldiers, sabotaged by the arrows and sabers of his enemies. The director takes the opportunity to make a fresh nose to Chang Cheh with the figure of the dead hero still standing, evidently where Chang Cheh this position symbolizes ecstasy, absolute enjoyment, Cheng Kang it serves only ” To strengthen the image of an eternal hero, Faithful to the great reputation of the Yang family. There is no doubt, The 14 Amazons is definitely far from a cute ballet, Cheng Kang is worthy of his reputation.

The 14 Amazons - 1972 - Cheng Kang

With this magnificent opening scene, Cheng Kang began to divide the world of men from the world of women, the Mongols are exclusively barbarians, they are warriors without faith or law acting with instinct and excess. The battle ended up being sent to the family home of the Yang, the rhythm is no longer so oppressive and frenetic, instead Cheng Kang takes his time to set up the heroines of his film. This finished presentation of completing the difference between men and women, between Mongols and Yang widows, on the one hand there is coldness, on the other there is a reservoir of emotions, human heat, Inevitably because one is in the precincts of a family united until death! With a large number of women, it seems normal that Cheng Kang takes her time, The simplest way to make us understand who is who to use when appearing a character a sentence that will come next to the face of the individual frozen to point out the actress and the name Of the incarnated character. It’s simple and effective, this method assimilates women without losing a single second of the film.

The women of this family belong to 4 generations, there is the great grandmother surnamed the Great Lady (Lisa Lu), a grandmother (Chen Yan Yan), mothers (Ivy Ling Po) and finally a son Lily Ho). As in all families, there is a profound respect for the oldest being, here the Great Lady is shown as a unifying point between the different generations, she perfectly symbolizes longevity, patience but also with her great experience determination. The death of the last fighter is a sad news, he died precisely on his birthday, he leaves behind a wife and a son.

It is after the loss of this fighter that the Great Lady decides to take the affairs of the family in hand and to fulfill its eternal duty, to defend the Song Dynasty. We understand that the hidden leitmotiv is vengeance, Cheng Kang himself will not be deprived of us to make it understand since it refocuses the film softly on the mother (Ivy Ling Po) and the young son (Lily Ho) To the detriment of the many other Amazons.

The 14 Amazons - 1972 - Cheng Kang

This theme of revenge is recurring in Cheng Kang, but basic revenge is not what it interests him. To accomplish this goal, individuals must sacrifice themselves. Before deciding to go and kill his enemy, Jimmy Wang Yu in The Sword of Swords first underwent an impressive humiliation, he was degraded to the lowest level of the human species. For the 14 Amazons, it’s a bit similar, in going to take revenge, they will lose sisters. But Cheng Kang does not fall into the same simplistic Machiavellian game with The Sword Of Swords , he nuances the loss, a certain humiliation, with the idea of noble sacrifice for his homeland. This noble side of the film gives him a Manichaean aspect fully assumed and really well thought out since besides being bad guys, The Mongols have the misfortune to be men. The women do not act officially to clean their navels but to restore honor to the country, which is rather well seen on behalf of Cheng Kang since it plays on two totally antagonistic levels.

Besides, the few men who belong to the group of Amazons do not have an important position, they are soldiers or servants devoted to the cause. The only one that seemed to stand out was Lu Chao (Yueh Hua).

The 14 Amazons - 1972 - Cheng Kang

This man is a victim of the Mongols, he had to fight a colossus (Bolo Yeung) to obtain a reprieve. The fight was not in his favor, he is all skinny and must fight with his bare hands, Bolo Yeung is a mass that has a few weapons! Everything seemed to be well on the way to making Lu Chao an equivalent of the Amazons, but in the end, he was just another nicer advisor.

We understand why the only son of the family is interpreted by Lily Ho, a charming actress. This type of role was common in the great era of huangmei operas, but since the revelation of the modern wu xia pian, practice had fallen somewhat into disuse. It is indeed a way of putting in scene the supremacy of the clan of the women since the only important warrior man is played by a woman.

After setting up the characters, Cheng Kang gets to the top speed to deepen the furious madness of his short introductory scene. Battles, battles are the nerve core of the film. Once the women are in the fight, Cheng Keng becomes uncontrollable just like actresses and actors. This is madness ! It leaves us just a few seconds of respite before we plunge back into the middle of a battle. Of course it brings in a subtle way the battle, one does not arrive directly in front of two clans that clash. During their crusade, the Amazons must face the traps of the Mongols who are aware of their coming. We are talking about ambush in the line of that of the first scene of the film.

Visually it is herculean, Cheng Kang uses special effects, small models to simulate some formidable passages, such as a landslide or even a tidal wave. Say like that, we think back to the special effects already seen in the old productions of the Shaw Brothers, it is kitchen and not really close. It’s bad to know Cheng Kang, the editing of the film ensures a coherence rarely equaled for this kind of attempt, models and realistic plans really complement well, of course we realize that it is a model, Is not that the stage loses its coherence or turns into ridicule. To camouflage at best what could become a weakness, Cheng Kang decides during these phases and fighting, to have a frenzied montage, everything is linked in a surprising speed of action.

Yueh Hua has never been more credible and absorbed by her action, as well as actresses like Ivy Ling Po who as a female fighter has shown us A rather average performance in the genius The Finger Of Doom, or Lily Ho who in the role of The Silver Fox lacked frankly tone and flexibility. But the mistakes of the past are repaired, the battles are powerful and enjoyable. Cheng Kang is not only satisfied with a very fast editing, it plunges us into the heart of the action, it happens that we are at the feet of the fighters!

The 14 Amazons - 1972 - Cheng Kang

One would think that without these fabulous scenes of combat, The 14 Amazons is a commonplace story with a big casting. Again, this would underestimate the talent of Cheng Kang, he perfectly balances his narrative between the apocalyptic battles and the intermediate scenes. At the heart of a war, life is not rosy, there are problems that will appear, either as a result of a tactical error or by chance. When there are no more foods, individuals have to eat a soup in which leaves of trees have simmered, some try to find another dish but have to deal with the severity of others. It is also during these phases that the Amazons develop their strategy for the future. With these scenes, Cheng Kang solidifies the general atmosphere of the clan of the Amazons and makes us discover other facets of the characters, it emerges from the humor, suspense. We are far from flat and uninteresting scenes as one might have imagined.

The 14 Amazons - 1972 - Cheng Kang

As a recent widow, Mu Kuei Ying (Ivy Ling Po) is the main character of revenge. The Grande Dame (Lisa Hu) indirectly delegates her decision-making power over her little daughter. It is amusing to see that Cheng Kang connects Mu Kuei Ying, the mother of Wen Kuang (Lily Ho), with the 5 th Mongolian Prince incarnated by Lo Lieh, son of the great villain. This man is one who has completed her husband, he tells her clearly. One can not help seeing a filial relationship between these two characters, as if this Prince were trying to kill his mother to save his father, which looks rather like the complex of Ajasé (as opposed to Oedipus complex). In the same way, the prince can embody a real son, unlike Wen Kuang (I recall that Lily Ho is an actress), Which is in view of her sex hated by the mother, who through this illegitimate son seek to revenge her husband. From this point of view, the Amazons’ revenge is no longer that of a woman who has lost her husband, but that of a group of women ignored and not recognized by the officials of her country. By saving the buttocks of the Song Dynasty, women affirm their existence and their power to change the situation.

A little higher, I was talking about the visual delusions of Cheng Kang. There is more surprising than a tidal wave, there is what one will call one of the cult scenes of the film: the human bridge. One wonders where the director was looking for such a crazy and unbelievable idea, on paper it seems unrealizable, impossible. Yet he managed to stage it!

The base of the Mongols is no longer far away, troops are always in search of the Amazons and try by all means to prevent them from reaching the den. Burning a wooden bridge appears as the definitive way to stop them. The Amazons are too imaginative – Cheng Kang too – it is actually Mu Kuei Ying (Ivy Ling Po) who emits the idea of forming a human bridge, since building a new bridge would be too long and could prove dangerous For them the enemy is all around. Before the bridge collapsed, some women managed to pass on the other side, some unfortunately fell with debris from the bridge. On each side, two soldiers will serve as carrying feet for the human pyramid. In turn, the women climb and form a solid edifice. When both sides are ready, They drop to catch and allow the soldiers to cross the ditch without any problem. With this human bridge, Cheng Kang intensifies the suspense, no one is sure that he will hold the necessary time, especially since Mongolian troops have come closer and attacked a group of volunteers. This sacrifice allows others to arrive at good harbors, but those who have been caught will suffer a horrible fate, women and men will be whipped to finally be decapitated, the blood still flows so much!

The symbolism of the pyramid formed by the human bridge supports the purpose of the film, at the base one finds a man then women. In fact, to advance in life, women necessarily need a man, procreation does not happen by itself, but once the child is born, the woman no longer needs man to live , She is able to fend for herself, it is the man who ends up clinging to the woman. Would not Cheng Kang be a feminist bit?

The 14 Amazons - 1972 - Cheng Kang

Les 14 Amazones est sans problème l’un des grands chefs d’œuvre du studio de la Shaw Brothers, on voit bien que le réalisateur est à l’aise dans son exercice, il sait prendre son temps pour fignoler quelques points. Ce film n’est pas qu’une réussite artistique, celle d’avoir su mettre en scène des idées totalement folles et ingénieuses, c’est aussi une réussite d’aboutissement. Ce point se ressent fortement dans chaque scène du film, tout sonne bien, il y a une harmonie surprenante qu’on ne retrouve que trop rarement dans les productions de la Shaw Brothers. Cheng Kang confirme qu’il est bien un très grand de ce studio, un grand méconnu par chez nous Même si Les 14 Amazones profite d’un budget conséquent, le réalisateur ne gâche pas le film en ne s’engageant que dans une unique direction, au contraire il arrive à aborder différents thèmes tout en gardant leur richesse !

Similarly, the decorations are sumptuous, one rarely finds twice the same landscape! Cheng Kang turns both indoors and outdoors without any problem, it must be said that his chiseling at the assembly level allows him to make stealth connections between the different planes. What we can regret to the film is not to be able to achieve certain transitions, as for example the character of Lu Chao who passes into a scene of semi-spy status to that of general-in-chief of the troops! The 14 Amazons is a visual explosion, it is an end-to-end delight, the apocalyptic montage gives thanks to the choreographies of Ching Siu Tung (Duel to the Death), which is the son of Cheng Kang, frantic speed can even Becoming frustrating in the final fight, It’s so fast that you may find yourself frustrated by not having enough time to enjoy it. The film is well worth the many awards it received at the Eleventh Golden Horse Awards in 1973. The 14 Amazons is the final apotheosis of the modern wu xia pian, a film that explodes and explores the usual rules of the genre by Chang Cheh.