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[Movies] An article from Bey's Blog about Last Hurrah For Chivalry

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发表于 2010-3-9 03:05:10 |显示全部楼层
I was googling and found this article about Last Hurrah For Chivalry.  In the article, Damian is mention in like the first three paragraphs. My thoughts regarding the matter is that it is a little disappointing that he didn't accept the interview because I enjoy understanding/seeing the movie from the casts, crew members, and other behind the scene production.  But at the same time I shall respect his wishes. :D  Additionally, I was surprised to find out how much he is involved with the pre-production of Dragon Heat.

As for other parts of the article, I found that it was very interesting and informative.

May 20, 2007

BEYOND THE CUTTING EDGE:
Why a Last Hurrah For Chivalry feature took so many years to create.


Original article: http://www.dragondynasty.com/blog/show/33




When it comes to putting together bonus features for our older kung fu releases, we often have to apply an extra dose of imagination. Fans often ask me: why don’t you just interview so-and-so? The answer, more often than not, is that we tried. Though there are some Hong Kong martial arts movie heroes willing to recount their adventures for the modern audience, others are not. For example, the majestic Ti Lung, arguably the greatest of the Shaw Brothers stars, has so far steadfastly refused to engage in any such on-camera interviews. This is a shame, as I believe he has a lot to share with his younger audience, not just about his work, but about life as well. The same is true of Damian Lau, star of our forthcoming release of John Woo’s swordplay classic Last Hurrah For Chivalry.

I first met Damian when I was working on a film called Dragon Heat (AKA Dragon Squad), a forthcoming Dragon Dynasty release. He is the mentor of the film’s director, Daniel Lee, and was a regular visitor to the company’s offices throughout the pre-production period. We developed a warm relationship, and so I thought it a relatively simply matter to ask him to be interviewed about his work on Last Hurrah. To my surprise, he firmly but politely turned me down, saying that he absolutely never does interviews, even for the local Chinese press.

Damian’s refusal left us with space to fill, and, after some discussion with the indefatigable Brian White, we decided to use this opportunity to shoot a featurette on the development of Chinese martial arts weapons, relating this evolution to the various swords and staffs used in Last Hurrah For Chivalry. I outlined for Brian how I would present a brief overview on the history of China’s bladed and wooden weapons to camera, which we would intercut with demonstrations of these implements being used in practice and on film.

As a location, I chose the Tai Shing Pek War mo kwoon (martial arts school) of Sifu Chow Keung. Keung Sifu was out of town, teaching seminars in South Africa, but his students were happy to help. Though, in recent years, I’ve focussed my training on Hung Kuen and Chen Tai Chi, I’ve long had a close relationship with the Tai Shing Pek War camp. Unbeknownst to many, actor Anthony Wong, with whom I’ve worked on several films, is an expert in the art, and a kung fu brother of Chow Sifu. I met another exponent, Thomas Sin, while working on the Fist Of Fury TV series with Donnie Yen. (Anthony is one of the stars of the Infernal Affairs trilogy, currently available from Dragon Dynasty.)

When a friend of mine named Gordon Lam asked about learning the traditional kung fu weapons, I introduced him to Chow Sifu’s school. Gordon applied himself to the training with great vigour, and used his marketing skills to put Chow Keung’s school firmly on the map. Suddenly, Chow Sifu had more Hong Kong celebrity and socialite private students that he could handle. Out of loyalty to my own style, I sometimes wish I’d introduced Gordon to a Hung Kuen teacher! (I asked Gordon to participate in the Last Hurrah featurette, but he decline, citing an injury sustained when he slipped while training outdoors in the rain. That never happens in the kung fu movies!)

At the school, I delivered my running commentary while one of Chow Sifu’s students threw different weapons to me from out of shot. I just demonstrated some basic applications of the weapons and, out of respect for Chow Sifu’s school, let his students do the actual demonstrations. They did an amazing job, and I thank them whole heartedly for their time and effort.

I’m often asked about my own martial arts background. I’ve been training in various styles for most of my adult life. For some reason, I’ve always found myself drawn to the Southern Chinese kung fu systems, and specifically Hung Kuen, also known as Hung Gar Kuen. (Hung’s Fist, or Hung’s Family Fist). I think if I could magically blend together all the different Hung Kuen instructors I’ve studied under, we would probably have the ultimate kung fu man!

While I was living in that expanded motorway café that is Birmingham, England, I learned from Mark Houghton. Mark later had an illustrious career as a bad guy in 80s Hong Kong martial arts movies. His practice and style of teaching really captured the fierce fighting spirit of traditional kung fu. After I moved to London, I had the good fortune of studying with Jim Uglow, who is simultaneously a master of Hung Kuen (in the Chan Hon-chung lineage) and Yang style Tai Chi (and I must credit him for opening the door to this art for me). Jim is less ferocious than Mark, but has a very profound technical knowledge of the Hung Kuen system. He also focuses on the ‘Gar’ aspect. His school in Essex feels like a ‘family’.

After I moved to Hong Kong, I continued training under the Chan Hon-chung branch of Hung Kuen, having been introduced by Jim to Sifu Cheung Yee-keung. Cheung Sifu makes a living as a traditional Chinese bonesetter and, to this day, I refer patients to him. Training with him was even more of a ‘family’ affair than it was with Jim. The ‘mo kwoon’ training floor was simultaneously the waiting room for his patients and the living room of his home! Cheung Sifu is also a very technical, detailed oriented instructor. His personality seems, to me, to perfectly encapsulate the ideal for a kung fu master: calm, kind, wise, but iron of spirit.

Cheung Sifu’s kwoon is located on the Kowloon peninsula of Hong Kong, in the Prince Edward area. Having moved to Hong Kong Island, and with more and more movie work commitments, I found it increasingly difficult to make the journey to his school on a regular basis. I kept training, but my actual study lapsed until a chance encounter with a Canadian Hung Kuen expert named Jesse Gooding. It was Jesse who introduced me to the family of the venerable Lam Jo, nephew of Hung Kuen legend Lam Sai-wing. More importantly, Jesse taught Hung Kuen in a way that combined a deep technical knowledge with a very practical approach to applying the art. Jesse isn’t a very big individual, but his skill makes him a giant. I hired him to work on action director Chin Kar-lok’s stunt team on Dragon Heat, and he also appears in the film (alongside me!) as a police officer.

After Dragon Heat wrapped, Jesse returned to his native Canada, and I was again bereft of an instructor. (I’ve always felt a greater desire to learn than to teach!) Another chance encounter led me to meet Sifu Mak Che-kong. He is an extraordinary man. Slightly built, but wiry and tough as steel, he applies a scientific rigour to his practice, demanding that every movement of every Hung Kuen form be executed a certain way and with a specific intention. Given the number of times I’d learned the same forms previously, I find unlearning harder than learning afresh, and greatly appreciated Mak Sifu’s patience! He teaches several days a week in a park opposite the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Hong Kong’s Central district, and all are welcome. Mak Sifu can be contacted at lck486001@yahoo.com.hk and his website is at www.hungkuenhk.com.

These years of study stood me in good stead to present our weapons feature on the Last Hurrah For Chivalry disc. I hope it’s as enjoyable to watch as it was to shoot. As I mention at the end of the piece, the reason I continue to train after all these years is deceptively simple: because its fun! I sincerely hope that many of you will continue or begin to practice for the same reason.
[ Last edited by aznawm at 2010-3-8 14:20 ]

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发表于 2010-3-9 14:48:57 |显示全部楼层

Thanks awm. This is the first time I've heard that Damian was involved in the pre-production of Dragon Heat!! 猛龙

 

When the movie, Dragon Heat was out in HK, Damian was present for the opening, very surprising to us, cos he wasn't part of the cast.

It seems Damian and Daniel Lee are very good friends, so we thought he was only there to support. There's even a photo of Damian at the preview. Let me look for it later.

 

As for interviews, I think we are so used to Damian not accepting interviews:( . But at least he was polite:loveliness:

 

I think I have the commentary on Last Hurrah for Chivalry by Bey Logan. 

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参与松居书籍:《碧海情天》,《男人之苦》, 《原来爱上贼》和 《天地孩儿》http://bbs.lauchungyan.com/viewt ... &extra=page%3D1
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发表于 2010-3-9 20:15:27 |显示全部楼层
Thanks Awm, This is so interesting, there is always so much to learn about Damian and his work
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发表于 2010-3-10 02:32:57 |显示全部楼层
Original posted by sharonpek at 2010-3-9 01:48 AM Thanks awm. This is the first time I've heard that Damian was involved in the pre-production of Dragon Heat!! 猛龙   When the movie, Dragon Heat was out in HK, Damian was present for the openin ...


Thank you for the information! I didn't know he was at the opening of the movie nor the Chinese name of the movie. :[83]  And yes Damian and Daniel does seems to be very good friends with one another. :)


Thanks Awm, This is so interesting, there is always so much to learn about Damian and his work


Welcome, very much agree...always more to learn.  :<53> 
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发表于 2010-3-21 01:21:00 |显示全部楼层
Out of curiosity, I emailed Bey Logan asking about Damian's appearance in the office.
To my surprise, he replied with the following: (I don't think there's anything too personal in this reply so I've decided to post this up :))

 
Hi, Sharon, sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Thanks for your kind words on Last Hurrah. Damian is an old friend of director Daniel Lee, and just came by to chat. He later appeared in Daniel's 'Three Kingdoms' film, which were also prepping that that time.
best, Bey


There was another post in the Chinese section, where Daniel Lee mentioned that Damian was the one who introduced him to Ann Hui (renowned HK director)
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参与松居书籍:《碧海情天》,《男人之苦》, 《原来爱上贼》和 《天地孩儿》http://bbs.lauchungyan.com/viewt ... &amp;amp;amp;extra=page%3D1
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发表于 2010-3-21 10:45:31 |显示全部楼层
Thank you Sharon for e-mailing and posting Bey Logan's reply.   I very much appreciate it.  :[83] :[83]
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