Martial arts movie icon Bruce Lee would have turned 70 in 2010. The Freer Gallery of Art honored this legendary performer with a screening of one of his classics and an exclusive dance performance by a choreographer inspired by his work. The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Provost’s Office and Graduate School presented the first event in this two-part series, a film screening of Enter the Dragon.
Bruce Lee’s most popular film also served as his epitaph: he died shortly after filming it. He plays a master Shaolin warrior sent to infiltrate the fortress of a villainous former Shaolin disciple under the guise of participating in a martial arts contest. A big-budget Hollywood production set mostly in Hong Kong, it shows off Lee’s astonishing physical abilities and abundant charisma in a succession of dazzling fight scenes. As film critic Jeffrey M. Anderson writes in Combustible Celluloid, “It’s easy to see why Lee was — and still is — such a big star. He had a charm and charisma that few have. The camera loved him. He had that special undefinable quality that James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and a few others have.” (Dir., Robert Clouse, United States, 1973, 99 min.)
Related Event—Power Moves: From Bruce Lee’s Intercepting Fist to Hip Hop and Beyond.
The second event in this two-part series features choreographer/dancer Peggy Choy as she re-envisions the legacy of martial artist and film star Bruce Lee, through presentation of her recent work that fuses Asian martial arts with diverse forms of dance from Korean court dance to hip-hop. Choy and her dancers generate a vivid playing field of dynamic movement while exploring Bruce Lee’s intentions behind creating Jeet Kune Do or “the way of the intercepting fist”.
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