Mr King Hu



Born in Beijing, actor and director King Hu came to Hong Kong in 1949, working as an advertisement artist and, later, as a props designer. In 1954, with the help of Yan Jun, he was cast in Humiliation for Sale (1958). In 1958, he joined Shaw Brothers, where, besides acting, he scripted films like The Bride Napping (1962) and worked as assistant director to Li Han Hsiang. King Hu’s directorial debut was Sons of Good Earth (1965). But it was Come Drink with Me (1966) that established him as a director. After this, Hu went to Taipei where he made the classic Dragon Inn (1967) for Union Film Company. Hu’s talent wowed audiences, and the film set off a craze for period action titles. Hu then spent three years shooting his masterpiece, A Touch of Zen (1971). Meticulously crafted, it won the Technical Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975, marking Hu as the hero who put Chinese swordplay movies on the international stage. Other titles he helmed in this period include The Fate of Lee Khan (1973), The Valiant Ones (1975), Legend of the Mountain (1979) and Raining in the Mountain (1979). Hu pioneered an ethereal aesthetic in martial arts cinema in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and his influence can be felt to this day. He garnered Best Director and the Lifetime Achievement Award at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards in 1979 and 1997, respectively. In 1992, King Hu was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hong Kong Film Directors’ Guild.