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Lexic : S

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome’. This virus appeared in the Guangdong province in the year 2003. It seems that the virus passed from the animal on to the human. The civet is among the animals blamed (maybe wrongly) to be carrying SARS. The Cantonese are very fond of wild animals and there are markets dedicated to them. The Chinese authorities have decided to close those markets and to get 10,000 civets slaughtered so as to contain the proliferation of the virus.

The Hong Kong Film Worker Union produced on that occasion a series of 12 short films lasting from one to three minutes for the HK government. The avowed aim was to boost the spirits of the Hongkongese which was very low (SARS, death of Leslie Cheung, catastrophic economic situation) and to give to the world a positive image of the former colony. They are put together in a film entitled Project 1:99.

The ‘Special Duties Unit’ is a sort of SAS / SWAT, the special rapid deployment force called out in case of hard blows.

Several films on the subject were made with often in the role of a drill officer the Sino-English-speaking, tough, cigar-chewing Michael Wong. So he can be seen in the ‘option’ trilogy: Final Option, First Option or the recent The New Option by Gordon Chan. One can also catch a glimpse of the SDU in the comedy Mr Mumble and the average S.D.U. Mission In Mission. There is also the other intervention unit which fights against organized crime: SWAT.


Sampan means ‘3 planks’ in Cantonese. It’s a small fishing boat with a flat bottom and with a shelter of woven bamboo for some. It has oars and a sail, or even a heat engine.

This boat was the place of residence of numerous immigrants who came to find a better life in the former British colony. The very high rents obliged those poor people to live on their makeshift boats, thus forming a floating city in the Hong Kong bay.

Samsâra means ‘flow’ in Sanskrit, the succession of rebirths to which a person cannot escape as long as he hasn’t reached the inspiration. The sequence of the Samsâra is linked to the consequences of hatred, desire and ignorance. The condition to rebirth is determined by the karma of everyone.

Film: Samsâra by Nalin Pan with Shawn Ku and Christy Chung

Source: Encarta

San Te/San De/San Tok
A Shaolin monk who took part in the resistance against the Manchus alongside Fong Sai-Yuk (Fang Shi-Yu). In cinema, he was played by Chen Sing in Iron Fisted Monk and by Gordon Liu in 36th Chamber of Shaolin.

Source : "Tigres et Dragons (de Tokyo ŕ Hong Kong)" by Christophe Champclaux (Edition : Guy Trédaniel).

Shaolin Mantis (Technique)
One of Kung-fu's animal techniques. As often in this domain, Sammo Hung and Liu Chia Liang lent credibility to it. Sammo in Warriors Two for the big bad guy played by Fung Hak On and Liu Chia Liang in the excellent Shaolin Mantis with David Chiang.

Arnaud Lanuque

David Chiang in Shaolin Mantis

Shaws Movie Town

Snake Form Boxing (She quan)
Martial technique which is characterized by great speed and a lot of suppleness. The hands take the shape of the snake's head, tongue or fangs. In this style, the fingers' extremities, sometimes loaded with chi (internal energy), are used to thrust into a vulnerable or sensitive part of the opponent's body, therefore inflicting painful, debilitating or even deadly blows. Elements of this boxing can be other gong fu styles in varying quantities as in North Shaolin, South Shaolin, Ba gua zhang, Xing yi quan, Hung Gar Kune, le Wing Chun

In films, the snake-like boxing appeared for the first time in Spiritual Boxer by Lau Kar Leung. Sammo Hung used it a bit in his first Kung Fu Comedy; The Iron Fisted Monk. However, Jackie Chan was the one who really made the most of this 'snake fist' cushy number by drawing his inspiration from it so as to imagine a kung fu style full of singular imagery. He first used it sparingly in two films produced by Lo Wei ; Shaolin Wooden Men then Spiritual Kung Fu. Yet, it's especially in Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow by Yuen Woo Ping that the 'Jackie style' snake technique is best brought out by showing not only training scenes, taolu (kata) and applications during fights but also numerous comical variations.

Following the success of Snake, the snake has become one of the most popular animal styles of the Kung Fu Comedy with the monkey technique and the Drunkard although it is not as popular as the last-mentioned. Jackie used it for the last time for a scene in Drunken Master. Sammo also used it a bit in The Magnificent Butcher. In Chang Cheh's classic The Five Deadly Venoms, one of the villains uses 'the snake technique' which is actually even more eccentric and unlikely than the version imagined by Jackie. Wilson Tong, a highly skilled choreographer and actor who specialized in the role of the rather fierce and vicious villain, used this style in two of his own productions: Snake In The Monkey's Shadow and Snake Deadly Act.

Sound Effects
Hong Kong cinema has only recently been shooting in 'live sound'. Indeed, before films were shot in 'mute' mode and afterwards dubbed and sound effects added to them. With this latter, a Hong Kong film can be immediately recognized: punches, swordplays, sail movements, somersaults have always been more or less exaggerated, but always well fit in. Those violent sound effects highlight the movements of the joints, the gestures in martial arts. In the fight, sounds partake of illusion: they indicate a blow which didn't occur, transcend a confrontation which would have appeared trite, mark the importance of stakes and the combatants' worth. Their exaggeration even led to parodies such as the American Kung Pow.


Stunt Double
Even among martial arts experts actors who proliferate in Hong Kong cinema, there are people who stand in for stars. For example, one can recognize Jackie Chan who replaced a few times Bruce Lee during risky scenes involving going through glass. Jackie Chan himself was no exception to this stratagem: his most famous stunt doubles are Yuen Biao and Chin Kar Lok. As for Jet Li, it is public knowledge that he has been largely stood in for (notably by Hung Yan Yan) since he achieved international recognition.

Hong Kong stuntmen must be among the best in the trade. They are always adventurous, not hesitating in breaking their bones for a simple stunt. Many famous actors have started doing this. Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Lam Ching Ying and of course Jackie Chan have all began like this. See also the file on the Sing Ga Ban, Jackie Chan's stuntmen association.

Straight, two-edged Chinese sword (jian). The Chinese title of The Sword by Patrick Tam Kar Mingg is Ming Jian (the famous sword).


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