Scotland gets its first Kung Fu Film Festival

Summerhall in Edinburgh will play host to a Kung Fu Film Festival featuring Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan classics, as well as two films from Stephen Chow

Feature by Jamie Dunn | 16 Jul 2019
  • Shaolin Soccer

Carl Douglas once remarked that 'Everybody was Kung Fu fighting', and it looks like that might actually be the case at Summerhall this September, as the Edinburgh arts venue hosts Scotland's first ever Kung Fu Film Festival. The lineup mixes bonafide kung fu classics with bonkers kung fu comedy and classy martial arts Oscar-winners.

In the classics camp there's Enter the Dragon, in which the mighty Bruce Lee enters a high-profile martial arts competition on a shady private island in order to uncover a drug trafficking and prostitution ring. Jackie Chan’s hilarious breakthrough Drunken Master also screens.

The arty end of the spectrum is catered for by Ang Lee’s Oscar-winner Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and if it's impressive box office stats you're after there's Zhang Yimou's visually sumptuous Hero, which was the first Chinese-language film to go to number one at the US box office.

The festival also includes two batshit efforts from Stephen Chow. First there's his 2001 sports comedy Shaolin Soccer, in which a group of Shaolin monks apply their superhuman martial arts skills to football. His 2005 gangster film Kung Fu Hustle, featuring huge dance numbers, tuxedoed mobsters and incredible fight sequences, also screens.

More obscure on these shores is the blistering action film Wolf Warrior II, dubbed the Chinese Rambo. While its release in the UK didn't make much of an impact, it's plenty well-known elsewhere, given it's the highest-grossing Chinese film ever released.

As well as watching the movies, there's also a chance to get your own kung fu on, with introductory martial arts classes from White Crane Scotland and Suffrajitsu, who run self-defence classes for women in Edinburgh. The screenings of Enter the Dragon, Drunken Master and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon will also be accompanied by Q&As on the art and science of kung fu.

"We love the choreography, the action, the high-drama, the death-defying stunts," say Summerhall. "We love the absurd, the improbable, the hilarious, the jaw-dropping. We love the depth and breadth of the genre throughout its history, come join us for a week in September as the festival fringe posters of August curl into a paper mush."

The full Kung Fu Film Festival lineup is below:

16 Sep, Red Lecture Theatre, 7pm  – Enter the Dragon + Q&A: Art and Science of Kung Fu

17 Sep, Red Lecture Theatre, 7pm – Shaolin Soccer 

18 Sep, Red Lecture Theatre, 7pm – Hero

19 Sep, Red Lecture Theatre, 7pm – Kung Fu Hustle 

20 Sep, Red Lecture Theatre, 7pm – Wolf Warrior 2 

21 Sep, Red Lecture Theatre, 2pm – Drunken Master 

21 Sep, Old Lab, 12pm-6pm – White Crane Scotland: Introductory Martial Arts Class 

21 Sep, Red Lecture Theatre, 7pm – Drunken Master + Q&A: Art and Science of Kung Fu

22 Sep, Red Lecture Theatre, 2pm – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 

22 Sep, Old Lab, 12pm-6pm – Suffrajitsu: Self-Defense for women

22 Sep, Red Lecture Theatre, 7pm – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon + Q&A: Art and Science of Kung Fu