Last week our host Evrim Ersoy was on Radio 4 talking about Sir Run Run Shaw – you can listen to his brief segment here – near the 26 minute mark.
Sir Run Run Shaw was a legend in more ways than one – not only as he behind the Shaw Brothers studio but he also was an incredible philanthropist, reportedly donating over 5 billion pounds into charities (mainly education) over the course of his lifetime.
His achievements in film are enough to make anyone envious – Shaw Brothers were a powerhouse of a studio – fifteen soundstages with 1500 employees, there were more than capable of matching the film industry of the West and more.
But it was their way of innovating the old Chinese martial arts classics which really cemented their position within the film industry – they took a genre which, by then, was beginning to show its’ age and rejuvenated it: it was during their height that the films started exhibiting some incredible characteristics: from violent anti-hero’s to strong central female characters, these were the wuxia films but not as the audience knew them.
Sir Run Run said it was their duty to take the 5000 year history of China and make it an integral part of their productions – and to this end he kept his word. The stories were all familiar to local audiences – it was the technique and the dedication which elevated the productions; not to mention the quality of acting, production and even style.
Their involvement in Western productions also lead to some incredible films getting made – the best known, perhaps, being ‘Blade Runner’.
The Duke cannot think of a more deserving and worthwhile figure to pay tribute to and on February 24th, for one night only The Phoenix Artist Club will become Hong Kong where the Shaw Brothers studio will live one again.
Further details will follow – until then Gong Hey Fat Choy !