Martial arts in movies can mostly be traced to Chinese kung fu movies. This Far Eastern genre originated in the theatricality of Chinese opera and “Wuxia” novels. Wuxia is a romantic genre of Chinese folklore, often featuring a lone sword-wielding hero on a chivalric quest. The oldest films in this vein date to the late 1920s, but many are lost.
Shortly after this genre took off, mainland China banned Wuxia for promoting “backwardness and superstition.” This censorship would last until the 1980s, but in these middle years, production moved to Hong Kong where martial arts movies flourished in the famous Shaw Brothers studio under directors like King Hu… read more >