OLD SCHOOL KUNG FU FILM FEST: Hapkido with Angela Mao Intro

Angela-Mao-hapkido-1972-1499128213-726x388In a manner befitting the impressive combat acrobatics on display over the course of the weekend, even the Q&A session at the opening night screening of the seventh Old School Kung Fu Film Fest was a display of physical acumen. Where a simple raised hand would suffice, kung fu fans excitedly leapt from their seats, gesturing frantically for the opportunity to ask a question of martial arts legend Angela Mao. This display set the tone for a weekend full of fist-and-foot action mostly on 35 mm.

Mao was onhand to introduce her 1972 classic “Hapkido.” With the help of a translator, Mao recounted her preparations for the film (also known as “Lady Kung Fu”), traveling to Korea to study the eponymous local martial art until she obtained a third degree black belt. This training coupled with acrobatic skill learned at the Peking Opera House prepared her for the role of Yu Ying, who opens a martial arts school in her native China with two partners. The nationalist tendencies of the era’s kung fu films come into play when they’re challenged by a rival Japanese school; a parallel narrative can be found in the same year’s “Fist of Fury” with Bruce Lee, who Mao described as like a big brother when they worked together the following year on “Enter the Dragon.” Read more