Screened as part of NZIFF 2004

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin 1978

Shaolin Sanshiliu Fang

Directed by Lau Kar-leung

Hong Kong In Mandarin with English subtitles
115 minutes CinemaScope



Ni Kuang


Huang Yuedai


Jiang Xinglong


Gordon Lau Kar-fai
Luo Lie
Yu Yang
Lau Kar-wing


Berlin 2003


Much imitated and much admired, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is probably the definitive period kung fu film. China’s Manchu rulers outlaw a radical student movement and Yan-Te must escape after his family and colleagues are slaughtered. Hoping to learn martial arts in the much-vaunted Shaolin style, he smuggles himself into the Shaolin Temple with a shipment of silver beet. Renamed San-De, he toils for many years as a monk and is eventually allowed to pass through the torturous 35 Chambers of Shaolin. Much humour and entertainment is derived from the gruelling physical tasks that the monks put him through to build his body and spirit for an eventual confrontation with the ruthless Manchu killers. Gordon Lau Kar-fai, most recently seen imparting his kung fu knowledge to Quentin Tarantino’s Bride in Kill Bill Vol. 2, is excellent in the film which made him a star. Retire those tired old panned and scanned dubs and drink in a classic, beautifully restored to widescreen glory. — MM