Director: WONG KAR-WAI

108 minutes, Hong Kong-China, 2013, Colour, D-Cinema, Subtitled

From the director of the mesmeric In the Mood for Love and 2046 comes this vivid account of the life of Ip Man, legendary Wing Chun grandmaster and towering figure in the history of martial arts. Beginning in 1930s Foshan, where we first encounter Ip Man levelling a swarm of combatants in a dark rain-swept alleyway, the film chronicles the fighter’s hurdles in combat but also in his turbulent personal life, which sees him forced to leave his family and move to Hong Kong for work as a teacher after the crippling Second Sino-Japanese War.

While the fight sequences are staggering, the scenes between Ip Man, played by the ineffable Tony Leung, and Zhang Ziyi’s beguiling Gong Er remind the viewer of the sultry and ill-fated romances of the director’s earlier output and make this, as with all his films, an entry point into another, more sublime world. (Notes by Alice Butler.)

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★★★★ The Irish Times

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