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to sept. 4
Children of the ’80s may fondly recall Black Belt Theater, a Saturday-morning injection of heavily edited, panned-and-scanned, atrociously dubbed martial-arts mayhem broadcast on local stations around the country. But many of these films, specifically those produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio, have nothing to do with the “You killed my master!” chop socky they were inevitably lumped in with. “Heroic Grace: The Chinese Martial Arts Film, Part II” film series reads like a love letter to the prolific studio, highlighting its ’70s and early-’80s golden age. The films of two directors—Chang Cheh and Liu Chia-Liang—are especially well-represented, and with good reason. Chang crafted lush “Shawscope” odes to martial chivalry and male bonding—soaked in gallons of the red stuff—usually pairing his favorite actors Ti Lung and David Chiang; films such as Boxer From Shantung (pictured; at 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 21, and 8:20 p.m. Saturday, July 22) and The New One-Armed Swordsman, make Chang’s influence on former apprentice John Woo significantly more obvious. Liu Chia-Liang’s films are noted as much for showcasing actual martial-arts styles as for deconstructing the very philosophy behind the martial arts—but the emphasis here is on kung-fu comedy. Dirty Ho will delight Kill Bill fans with a young and charismatic Gordon Liu, as well as brilliantly choreographed duels in which the participants hilariously disguise their fighting from onlookers. My Young Auntie is a comedic examination of generational and cultural gaps, but also serves as a showcase for the pugilistic talents of Liu’s female protégé, Kara Hui. The series runs through Monday, Sept. 4, at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.25. (301) 495-6700. (Jason Powell)