Martin Scorsese is taking on some martial arts duty. The Wolf of Wall Street director will lend his name presenting Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai’s upcoming film The Grandmaster, starring Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen. It will be styled, “Martin Scorsese Presents ‘The Grandmaster,'” according to Thompson On Hollywood.
Based on a true story, Leung plays Ip Man, the legendary teacher of Bruce Lee and a master of the Wing Chun school of kung fu, who is born to a well-off family in Foshan in the south of China. Never in need of money throughout his youth, he spends his time pursuing his passion for kung fu. He is often seen in the company of Foshan’s kung fu masters at the Gold Pavilion, an elegant brothel that serves as a meeting place for the elite martial artists. But turbulence is in the air as Japan invades China’s northeastern provinces in 1936. Grand master Gong Baosen (Wang Qingxiang) arrives in Foshan after leaving his occupied home in the north. Also arriving is his daughter Gong Er (Zhang Ziyi), who is the sole inheritor of her father’s lethal Bagua-style “64 Hangs” technique. It is here, during her aging father’s retirement ceremony at the Gold Pavilion, that she first encounters Ip Man. Their encounters set the backdrop for a historical drama.
“I hope that this film will bring more [to the screen] than kung fu. It is also about the ‘grand master’ and the Chinese,” Wong said at the Berlin International Film Festival in February following its World Premiere. “Someone can be a good fighter, but not a grand master. A grand master has the skill and the ability to pass along his skill to future generations. I believe The Grandmaster is more than a kung fu film.”
“Wong Kar Wai has turned martial arts into a modern dance,” said Scorsese of the film. “Every movement hit with precision, every emotion drenched with underlying honor. The Grandmaster, arranged with both elegance and fury, left me mesmerized.”
The Weinstein Company will release the Grandmaster nationwide August 30. Scorsese’s upcoming The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio is slated for a mid-November release.