Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Shaolin Temple...the real Kung-Fu?

"The Real Shaolin Temple" had its US premiere
as part of the LA Asian Film Festival this week.

The opening scenes of this documentary referred to the 1982 Kung-Fu epic, "The Shaolin Temple." Even though I was only 13 years old, I still remember this film from a trip to Hong Kong. I heard how authentic the Kung-Fu was and how it was made without the use of wires and trampolines (but they couldn't help but add the sound effects. ;) ) Later, I realized this was the film that put Jet Li on the main stage and found myself a US DVD in LA's Chinatown for $20.

Alexander Lee's film was inspired by his own trip to Shaolin to train in Kung-Fu in 2003. During his adventure, the Korean-American and USC Cinema School graduate sowed the seeds for what became "The Real Shaolin." His film takes us on a trip to discover the reality of today's Shaolin legend by following four people on their different journeys in Henan Province, central China. Lee gains unprecedented access to four schools as we follow a young nine year-old orphan and monk protégé, a teenage Sanda martial arts wannabe-champion and two foreigners drawn to the mystique of the Shaolin Temple - a young American and a late-20s French man.

"The Real Shaolin" engages you because it lets you peek behind the myth and folklore of Shaolin and show it, warts and all, in the 21st. century! Even though we see the tourism and mass marketing in action, we still get a sense of the hardship and devotion being passed down through generations by following nine year-old Yuan Peng as he follows his master and guardian towards becoming a Shaolin monk. This path may not be open to foreigners, or even Chinese with only glory in their hearts, but it still exists decades after the Shaolin Temple was destroyed by Mao's Communist Party.

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