Hyperallergic– In the 1970s, action films coming out of Hong Kong’s Shaw Brothers Studios captured moviegoers’ imaginations in the United States. As the colorful, action-packed films — many sharing creative DNA with American superhero comics — created new martial arts lovers in the grindhouses of Times Square and other locales, Bruce Lee — an actor with roots in Hong Kong and the United States — crossed language barriers and gave the world its first bonafide kung fu star.
“To put it simply, Lee was an unusually charismatic performer with an unmatched talent,” said La Frances Hui by email, the associate curator in the Museum of Modern Art’s film department. She organized the museum’s upcoming film series Eternal Bruce Lee, which features all five films Lee made in his prime. “He was not the first kung fu star to perform ‘real fighting’ without the aid of stunt doubles and special effects, and yet the Chinese audience knew right away that he was a rare gem.”