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Furs on Film – The Grandmaster (2013)

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Rare update this week. Not rare like the one after that short ten-year break, but rare for other reasons. I'm sure some students of fashion history can fill in why furs never really “caught on” in this area of the world, but it certainly seems to be the case. I'm sure the suggestion box will be stuffed with exceptions to this rule, which is… fine; just tell me where to find your cherished piece of Asian cinema with fur in it. (And it's good fur. And it's on-screen for more than a few seconds).

Okay, let's do some kung fu fighting in fur with The Grandmaster.

The Grandmaster – The Film

The movie is actually about Ip Man, the grandmaster of the title. The part we are talking about is a subplot about the daughter of another grandmaster seeking revenge for his murder. I understand that happens a lot in movies like this.

The Grandmaster – The Furs

There are a few furs in this movie, but none of them get the screen time of the one in the train station fight scene. First is a leopard coat we will assume is either vintage or faux. I suspect the latter since it's from 2013, but it's harder to tell with very short hair fur. It is worn by Song Hye-kyo, who plays the wife of Ip Man.

This short-haired fur appears very briefly. Maybe muskrat? I struggle to… care.

On to the main event, literally. This is the fur trimmed coat worn by Zhang Ziyi for, technically, not the main event, but a big fight nonetheless. She plays Gong Er, and she's spoiling to avenge her father's death in the most stylish way possible: kicking ass in fur.

There's a lengthy series of shots of the coat leading up to the fight. The cinematography beautifully showcases Zhang and the enormous black fox collar.

The coat accounts for almost twelve minutes of screentime between the leadup and the fight. There are classic “come at me, bro” pose shots that prove cinema has been deprived of this happening with ladies in colossal fur coats too often.

There is one more fur in the film, a brief appearance of a short-haired also worn by Zhang. 

The Grandmaster clocks in with an impressive fourteen minutes of fur, primarily due to the length of the featured fight sequence. The film is long but manages to break the ten percent barrier. It is certainly worth a glance as it is a unique example of fur in film. I confess martial arts films are not my usual fare, but I could certainly be persuaded to give them more of a shot were the costume designers a little more accommodating to my tastes.

  • Fur Runtime: approx 14 minutes
  • Film Runtime: 130 minutes
  • On-Screen Ratio: 10.72%

Find-a-Fur: The Grandmaster, 2013

(All times are approximate and are affected by the cut of the film.)

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