A Touch of Zen


King HU

180 minutes | 1971 | Fiction | Mandarin Chinese | English Subtitles
4K Restoration

28th Cannes Film Festival—Palme d’Or Nominee, Technical Grand Prize
10th Golden Horse Awards—Best Art Direction – Colour

5:30 PM, THU, AUG 17
Innis Town Hall


Yang (HSU Feng), a fugitive noblewoman at risk of being captured and executed, hides in a small village and must escape into the wilderness with a shy scholar and two aides. There, the quartet face a massive group of fighters and are joined by a band of Buddhist monks surprisingly skilled in the art of battle.


King HU, a martial arts film director based in Hong Kong and Taiwan, was born in Beijing in 1932 and went to Hong Kong alone in 1949. He has worked in a variety of occupations after moving to Hong Kong, such as advertising consultant, artistic designer and producer for a number of media companies, as well as a part-time English tutor. In 1958, he joined the Shaw Brothers Studio as a set decorator, actor, scriptwriter and assistant director. In 1962, he independently directed Yu Tang Chun which screened in 1964. In 1966, he directed Come Drink with Me, which established the style of his later works. In 1967, he directed Dragon Inn, and then worked on A Touch of Zen for three years and completed the production in 1971. In 1975, A Touch of Zen won the 28th Cannes Film Festival Technical Grand Prize, and HU became an internationally renowned director. In 1977, he went to South Korea to shoot two films – Raining in the Mountain and Legend of the Mountain, and the latter won him the Best Director and Best Art Direction Award at the 16th Golden Horse Awards. King HU is a pioneer of the new school of martial arts films. He incorporates traditional Chinese ink painting and opera elements into the film, and is good at adding Chinese painting expressions such as blank space to the film language to create an ethereal artistic conception and establish his own unique film style which represents Chinese classical traditional aesthetics. HU is one of the earliest Chinese directors that received worldwide recognition, and his work style later had an important influence on directors such as Ang LEE, TSUI Hark, and John WOO Yu-sen.


  • Director: King HU
  • Principal Cast: HSU Feng, SHIH Chun, TIEN Peng, BAI Ying, XUE Han, CAO Jian, Roy CHIAO
  • Producer: HSIA WU Ling-fung
  • Screenplay: King HU
  • Cinematographer: HUA Hui-ying
  • Art Director: CHEN Shang-lin
  • Costume Designer: Lee Ka-chi
  • Editor: King HU
  • Music: WU Ta-chiang, LO Ming-tao
  • Action Director: HAN Ying-chieh, PAN Yao-kun

Supported by HKETO (Toronto)

Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO Toronto)
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