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10 Reviews
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a hidden gem for everyone...
This really deserved to be a more widely known film, certainly one of the gems of cinema, not showing its age despite being over thirty years old.
Set in 'historical china' the story is based on folklore of: the young town scribe/artist is given a commission which takes him to the abandoned fort outside of town where he meets a princess and her aide who are on the...
Published on 30 April 2003

versus
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cheapskate subtitling - you'll watch this through a letterbox!
Find a different DVD of this film. It would be worth the search, because the film is beautiful - but don't buy this one! It's already widescreen, and huge, cutprice subtitle banners remove another quarter of the available space. Even with a huge plasma screen you're squinting to see the action. A BIG disappointment. Avoid at all costs.
Published on 24 Oct 2009 by B. A. Thorn


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cheapskate subtitling - you'll watch this through a letterbox!, 24 Oct 2009
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This review is from: A Touch Of Zen (Xia Nu) 1971 [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Find a different DVD of this film. It would be worth the search, because the film is beautiful - but don't buy this one! It's already widescreen, and huge, cutprice subtitle banners remove another quarter of the available space. Even with a huge plasma screen you're squinting to see the action. A BIG disappointment. Avoid at all costs.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie, Dreadful DVD, 17 April 2009
This review is from: A Touch Of Zen (Xia Nu) 1971 [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
OK, so this has been out for years, but a warning: don't buy this DVD! It's a dreadful, soft, murky TV print, squeezed into a little window with huge subtitles plonked underneath. Now way to treat any film, let along a visual masterpiece like this. The vhs I recorded off TV years ago is better (or at least, as good). Surely there must be better materials available than this? The film used to play in London cinemas at one time, for heaven's sake. There MUST be 35mm elements somewhere. The master this was taken off is many generations away from anything that looked like film. Alright, so I didn't pay much for it, but it was a major disappointment. It's a scandal that a world class film maker like King Hu is treated so shabbily on DVD. So few of his great films are available in anything like the quality they deserve. Five stars for film, no stars for DVD presentation.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a hidden gem for everyone..., 30 April 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: A Touch Of Zen (Xia Nu) 1971 [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
This really deserved to be a more widely known film, certainly one of the gems of cinema, not showing its age despite being over thirty years old.
Set in 'historical china' the story is based on folklore of: the young town scribe/artist is given a commission which takes him to the abandoned fort outside of town where he meets a princess and her aide who are on the run. They set off to find refuge being persued by various soldiers, ninja et cetera. Although there are plenty of action sequences, the three hour running time gives lots of scope for character development and stunning photogratphy of the landscapes through which the protagonists journey.
This-boy meets girl, girl happens to be a princess on the run, whose only hope of safety is the sanctury of a fabled monastry and the protection its high-kicking monks can afford may sound a bit familiar and Ang Lee has specifically mentioned aToZ as the starting point of CTHD; unlike Hollywood, Hong Kong has no qualms about remaking a film to improve it rather than palming us off with degenerate sequels. But unlike CTHD there are no special effects and certianly no computer aided post production. It is also the conerstone by which much of HK's cat4 film industry judges itself.
aToZ is part of the tradition of great spectacle that covers much ground without ever being in your face about any particular issues. Seemlessly moving from; old vs. new, love vs. greed to the real biggie- good vs. evil!
oh and i lied about the special effects, but i don't want to spoil the gourgeous twenty minue end sequence...
ENJOY!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece ! The best martial arts film ever !, 7 Mar 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: A Touch Of Zen (Xia Nu) 1971 [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
I saw this film in the early 80's and up until then, I would not have called myself a fan of martial arts films. But this film transcends the genre. If you like Crouching Tiger, then you will LOVE this. It is astonishing on every level. Considering that it was made in 69, the special effects are exceptional ! Blimey you can see the ropes in CTHD, but not here. I think CTHD was definitely influenced by this film. What I love about this film is that it starts off as a very small ghost/political thriller, and ends up as an real battle of cosmic good vs evil ! It has something I have never seen in a film since, a genuine narrative shift, seamless and yet epic. I am a real world cinema buff, but I would definitely put this in my top ten of films ever seen. Astonishing, imaginative, and a masterpiece !
I've seen and recorded it on C4, pan and scan, but I am hoping that the dvd really does some justice to it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars AN ALTERNATIVE, 4 Jan 2012
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This review is from: A Touch Of Zen (Xia Nu) 1971 [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
I have almost all of King Hu's costume films on DVD. A Touch of Zen is a masterpiece despite its flaws (yes, I do beg to differ).

Yet I feel his 'Raining on the Mountain' was much more enjoyable.

The middle of the movie was rather self-indulgent with King Hu showing off his research on ancient Chinese weapons.

Some of the night scenes were almost totally unwatchable.

But the climactic fight between good and evil you must watch, because you've never seen anything like this and never will again.

Existing DVDs suck, and we have to wait for a restoration. Years ago, Pioneer Laserdisc released a beautiful version that I saw but unfortunately didn't buy.

I heard that there is a good version of the DVD in France. I'll be buying it when I can track it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very very atmospheric - but low-quality dvd, 9 Feb 2011
By 
Henk Beentje "Henk Beentje" (Kew, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Touch Of Zen (Xia Nu) 1971 [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
The film: a rather poor painter is asked to do a portrait of a strange visitor to the small town where the story takes place. While his mother berates him to take the official exam, he is more interested in what is happening in the supposedly haunted fort next door. A blind soothsayer, meanwhile, is more than he seems; and so is the young lady who moves into the haunted fort. Soon the poor painter gets embroiled in death sentences, treason, pitched battles... and friendship, or possibly even love. The consequences... I can't tell, not wishing to spoil the plot.

My opinion: the DVD gives a strange format on your screen - two-thirds only (on my iMac widescreen) with a large black surround - including the sides. No way to adjust, except making it a bit larger (and grainier). Picture quality is very poor, like watching early sixties television, really; so just sit back and immerse yourself. Suspend criticism of poor video quality; get used to slow shots and lots of atmosphere, and get lost in the story. That way you will get your reward: oodles of atmosphere, beautiful images, ghost stories, cowboy-like/operatic Eastern rather than western. Very much a forerunner/inspiration (1971) for the 2000 Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Think Chinese `Good, Bad and Ugly' segeueing into mystic Zen Buddhism - go on, blow your mind!

One detail criticism: the setting is supposed to be the Ming period - so how come early in the film we are shown maize as a staple food drying on the house?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good film but poor quality DVD, 23 Mar 2014
This review is from: A Touch Of Zen (DVD)
Unfortunately the video shows in a small area of the screen. Lovefilm/Amazon need to get a better quality widescreen version. This version shows in a small area of the screen just so that the subtitles can be added. It might be a good film though apart from that but it's hard to tell without being able to see it well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars King Hu's Classic, 29 July 2012
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Mrs. Lina Abraham (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I've seen most of King Hu's films: Raining in the mountain, Dragon Gate Inn, Come Drink with me and legend of the mountain; but I think his best film is Touch of Zen, it's got action, good acting and message behind it. There is a problem regarding DVD releases, I bought four releases in order to find a good edition: The Region 1 import is terrible, bad print and small letter boxed the same goes for the Optimum Home Releasing UK release, the French release has a very clear transfer (remastered) but a major setback is it is also in a small letter boxed format, the best edition I found was the 2008 German release which has English subtitles and is anamorphic so you don't have to squint to see what's going on although the print has not been remastered it is still a good transfer.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest acquisition of 2005!, 10 Jun 2005
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This review is from: A Touch Of Zen (Xia Nu) 1971 [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
What can I say... . It was an amazing experience watching this movie. It was a open minder, to realize that directors like King Hu made movies like this, even before the '70's. The script is based in a short story from Songling Pu, a sort of asian H.P. Lovecraft. The movie has 3 hours, because of production costs, the producer had to made some money, so it debuted in a 2 part (something like LoTR), but believe me, it never gets boring. The charecters are well developed, and even likeble (I realize now that this issue is a must for the American audience, there must be a charecter that the US citizen like to put their shoes on - weird...).
I can't recommend this more, a must have.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 24 Aug 2014
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Mrs. D. Greig Smith (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Touch Of Zen (Xia Nu) 1971 [DVD] [1969] (DVD)
Thanks
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