New York Asian Film Festival Presents Lifetime Achievement Award to Jimmy Wong Yu

Article by Kevin Young
Photo credit Xue Liang

The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema, in association with the Taipei Cultural Center of New York brought the Taiwanese renowned martial arts actor and director, Jimmy Wong Yu to Lincoln Center celebrating his long enduring career. He was honored and recognized receiving the esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Asian Film Festival.

Yu’s pivotal breakthrough came in Chang Chen’s landmark film The One-Armed Swordsman in 1967, this film launched Wong Yu’s career. From both the fury and ferocity exhibited from Yu, he became the prototype for the tough stoic masculine martial arts protagonists. He became the idol aspiring action stars wanted to emulate.

In addition to The One-Armed Swordsman it was The Chinese Boxer released in 1970 that cemented his stardom status by helping to start the kung-fu fad. Yu wrote, directed, and starred in The Chinese Boxer, which was the first major motion picture to devote itself entirely to the art of kung-fu. It established the fundamental conventions from using revenge as a motive, Chinese martial arts versus Japanese martial arts, and strong patriotic love, all of which later found their way into the films of Bruce Lee.

Following this film’s success, Yu went on to direct his masterpiece the Beach of the War Gods in 1973. It’s described by scholar Stephen Teo as “the sword-fighting movie to end all sword-fighting movies.”

Fans and cinephiles alike were able to indulge on traditional Taiwanese deserts while watching a screening of Yu’s classic masterpiece, Master of the Flying Guillotine which was released in 1977. Yu graciously provided fan-service by posing for pictures with the audience that came out to see him. These zealous fans have been following Yu since the start of his career. One in particular made a miniature figurine of Yu.

“I’m honored to be here. It feels great to be awarded this lifetime achievement award,” said Yu who although having been in the entertainment industry for over 30 years still retains a youthful look. Yu continues to hold himself as a man of prestige and hopes to further his career as both an actor and a director.

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