Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Bruce Lee – Visionary Punches

Rushed to the hospital from an actress’s home and died at the height of his film career, Bruce Lee (1941-73) is a classic Shakespearean tragic-hero who is still a legend since his demise on 20 July, 1973.  He is an epiphany of a typical high school drop-out, winning Cha-cha dancer, charismatic actor, teacher and sportsman all rolled into one.

The organizers disallow photo-taking in the venue, 
hence the photos taken hastily are less than desirable.

The exhibition, set to run for five years, is an unprecedented result of a joint effort pulled together by the Bruce Lee Foundation, curators and individual bodies.  A large collection of memorabilia has been amassed from various sources to reveal different stages of his extraordinary life.  In the aftermath of recent bickering over a permanent venue dedicated to Lee sadly turned sour in Hong Kong, this is the best effort yet in a worldwide level.

Lee did not simply leave a lasting impact on martial arts forty years after his death.  His integrated adaptation of boxing, karate, Wing-Chun and other schools of fighting is a cross-discipline forth-runner of selecting the most effective means to achieve a goal.  In other words, it is the pursuit of efficiency, unbounded by doctrines, so highly valued in contemporary problem-solving process. 

The yellow jersey, not related to the Tour de France, is the iconic costume worn by Lee in the half-finished film – The Game of Death.

The mirrored wall from “Enter the Dragon” is reconstructed though without much vibe.  The China-town impression, blindly adopted by local curators, makes one feel tight-fisted with anger.  On the side note, I would recommend “Fist of Fury” for those who have not seen his films.  Honestly most of his other films should be viewed solely for personality-following purpose.

Two sketches among many by Lee explored the possibilities of fighting sequence in his films.  More daunting is his scribble of physical exercises to be taken on an hourly basis (not shown here). His dedication to body fitness put most people into shadow.

A toy-sized burial ground intended as a joke for a friend.  The inscription reads: In memory of a once fluid man crammed and distorted by the classical mess.  It is still a relevant guard against bigotry and self-righteousness.  To me, this is the essential contribution of Lee that stands the test of time.

The big-budgeted exhibition setting is largely based on the actor’s childhood home.  The deco is a bit nostalgic for liking yet the result is not as cheesy as imagined.

A more contemporary throw near the exit focuses on the play with Lee’s quotations through interactive means.  One of them says: “Empty your mind. Be formless. Shapeless. Like water.”

Bruce Lee: Kung Fu-Art-Life is held at Hong Kong Heritage Museum from 20 July 2013 to 20 July 2018.  Check the official website for film showing time prior to visit: www.heritagemuseum.gov.hk.

「武.藝.人生 李小龍」   〈中文摘要〉




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