Hot Wars on Screen during the Cold War:Philosophical Situations in King Hu’s Martial Arts Films 冷戰時期的銀幕熱戰:胡金銓武俠片中的哲學情境

James Wicks

King Hu’s (1932-1997) wuxia film Dragon Inn (King Hu, 1967) screened for a record-setting sixty-five days upon release in Taipei, out-pacing both domestic and imported films by earning NT$445,000 and breaking records in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia as well. At the same time, director Zhang Che’s (1923-2002) famous kung fu film One-Armed Swordsman (Che Zhang, 1967) was in theaters, solidifying the genre’s influence and appeal. This paper situates King Hu’s notable films within a Cold War socio-political and historical context, rather than exclusively within the wuxia tradition, in order to examine the brilliance and popularity of the director’s films by exploring the philosophical situations located in King Hu’s martial arts films in a manner which invites further conversation and inquiry. To do so, I first set up the parameters of the discussion in terms of the context of the Cold War, the biography of King Hu, and a brief discussion of the philosophy of King Hu’s films. Like blockbuster films today, Hu’s films presented straightforward and accessible narratives crammed with action-packed sequences which are displayed on a grand scale. In these ways and more, fascinatingly the catastrophes King Hu depict mirror actual concurrent Cold War conflicts. As a result, we discover how Hu did not only reimagine and invigorate an enduring wuxia tradition, but also captured the imagination of the Cold War era, rendering both its fears and fantasies visible and concrete. (This text uses the international standard Hanyu pinyin romanization system with an exception of names already familiar in the manner in which they most frequently appear romanized in the Wade-Giles system, such as King Hu and Chang Cheh, and locations such as Taipei.)


胡金銓(1932-1997)的武俠片《龍門客棧》(胡金銓,1967)在臺北破紀錄上映了65天,超越當時國內和國外的進口片,賺進了四百五十萬元臺幣,且在香港和東南亞都打破賣座紀錄。導演張徹的著名功夫片《獨臂刀》(張徹,1967)也同時在戲院上映,更加強化了這個類型的影響和吸引力。本文將胡金銓著名的電影放在冷戰的社會政治和歷史脈絡下,而不全放在武俠傳統中討論,希望拋磚引玉,藉由胡金銓電影中的哲學情境檢視其作品的精彩之處以及受歡迎的原因。一如當今的賣座鉅片,胡金銓的電影展現坦率、平易近人的敘事,但亦充滿緊湊宏偉的動作片段。透過這些以及其他的設計,胡金銓電影中所刻畫的災難巧妙 映射出銀幕外的冷戰衝突。因此,胡金銓並非只是重新想像與活化武俠傳統,而是捕捉冷戰時期的想像,讓恐懼和幻想都變得顯著而具體。