BRUCE LEE. A MAN AND THE LEGEND



Bruce Lee is more than just Bruce Lee.  He is larger than life -- a legend, a myth even.  He was a martial artist, a kung fu fighter, a philosopher.   But he was also a filmmaker – an actor, a director, a martial arts choreographer.  And it was Bruce Lee the filmmaker who realized Bruce Lee the myth.
 
He redefined acting. The handful of kung-fu films he made in the early 1970s were phenomenally popular, first in Hong Kong and the Chinese diaspora, then expanding to much of the world.  Most of those films may be crudely made by established industrial standards, but had a special appeal that connected with audiences of vastly different cultures and sensibilities.  One major factor was Lee’s acting – raw, primal, physical, powerful, immediate, yet nuanced.  His performance style defied conventional practices, shunning the calibrated refinement and methodical motivation that had been lauded and admired for some time.  He was all his own.  And he belongs to all.
 
But before Bruce Lee broke the rules of acting, he was an accomplished actor in the conventional sense.  Born into a Cantonese opera family, his father a seasoned veteran of the stage who went on to act in a large number of films, he grew up in an entertainment environment. Lee actually appeared in his first film while an infant, later working his way to become a child star, having his own star vehicle, with a titled role no less – The Kid (1950) -- at the tender age of nine.   He had appeared in over 20 films, some of them classics of Hong Kong cinema, and earned the reputation of a respected actor before leaving for the Unites States to pursue his education. 
 
Unfortunately, most of Lee’s early films are not available for screening due to copyright and formatting issues.  Yet we are able to present The Orphan (1960), the last Hong Kong film in which Lee performed before his departure for the West, playing the titled role.  This program also includes 4 of his 1970s films, providing an exceptional chance for audiences to trace the artistic development of a major figure in cinema history. 
 
Sam Ho