IP Man is a very successful biographical film released on December 18th 2008. The film was produced by Raymond Wong and directed by Wilson Yip. The film enjoyed good reviews from both film critics and the general audience. The film is an enactment of the legend of the IP Man who was Bruce Lees tutor and mentor in the martial arts. The film thus is a loose reference to the life of Yip Man a Chinese grandmaster in Karate that tutored and mentored Bruce Lee. The film is set in 1937 during the Second World War. It is set in the town of Foshan in China which had been occupied by the Japanese. The film documents various happenings during the Japanese occupation of Foshan which eventually lead to Yip Man’s exile to Hong Kong where he sets up a school of martial arts. Bruce Lee is among the first disciples to learn under the grand master Yip Man. Several aspects of the film such as Camera angles, editing, sound or
lightning will be utilized in order to determine their effectiveness in portraying the theme of the film.
The film has employed very effective use of camera angles starting from the first scene. In the opening scene of the film the producers framed the camera angles through the use of the extreme long shot and the medium shot. In the opening scene IP Man is visited by a local master who invites him to a duel as a means of instruction from the grandmaster. The use of the extreme long shot in the very beginning of the film is of particular importance in giving a view of Foshan as a city. As the scene proceeds Yip Man engages the local master in conversation and this is captured through the medium shot which is a very effective technique in capturing of conversations. This technique is very effective in getting the audience to get to know the characters and to develop a relationship with them since they are close up. At the extreme end of the scene the film employs the use of the long shot in order to show a close up view of Yip Man and the local master as they engage in a martial arts bout.
An impotent scene in the film involves the arrival of the Japanese occupation troops in Foshan since it portrays the importance of editing. This is a very important scene ion which the theme of the film fundamentally depends as it shows the reaction of Yip Man to this occupation. The producers of the film have employed a very effective technique of editing this film in order to effectively portray the intended theme. The scene starts with the arrival of the occupying forces in Japan and then proceeds to show how the life of Yip Man is affected by this occupation since his house is taken away and he is left with nothing and reduced to a laborer. The producers have been effective in offering continuity in the film throughout this scene. Continuity has been achieved through continuous conversation and dialogue which enables the development of a story line which makes the movie palatable. The producers also employed long take technique of editing in order to foster continuity. The use of long take has made this film to be spell binding as the audience watches the life of Yip Man unravel while he is helpless or unwilling to resist.
Sound effects play a particularly important role in setting the tone of a film and this is very evident in the scene of the fight between Yip Man and the Japanese troops. In the opening parts of the scene the producers of the film employ the use of background effects since Yip Man has yet to discover what has happened to his friend. As the scene progresses Yip Man comes to the knowledge that his friend is dead killed by the Japanese occupation troops. This raises the tempo of the scene as Yip Man prepares to revenge the life of his friend. As the scene proceeds and Yip Man is required to fight against the Japanese troops, there is use of the Foley technique of sound effects in order to portray the sounds of martial arts blows. The Foley sound effects technique has been used very effective to portray Yip Man’s anger and desire for revenge as he beats up and defeats all of the Japanese troops that are presented to him. While the sound of blows on the human body is not usually as loud as is portrayed, the producers of the movie stuck to loud Foley sound effects in order to portray Yip Man’s anger and revenge.
Generally the film IP Man is a top movie that I would recommend for anyone. While there are many aspects of the film that are positive and deserve commendation there are also many aspects of the film that could have been done better. The use of special effects is quite effective in some aspects such as the use of Foley sound effects which have enabled the audience to get the feeling of Yip Man’s anger and desire for revenge. The editing of the movie is also exceptional in the promotion of the theme of the film, since it offers for continuity which is instrumental in the development of character and storyline which improves the movie’s overall effectiveness. Camera angles have also been effectively used in the depiction of the overall theme of the film which as enabled the development of the character of Yip Man and also enabled the audience to create a relationship with the characters and therefore get better understanding of the film. In overall though the theme of the film in depicting the resistance to the Japanese occupation through the eyes of the elite class is achieved in their depiction of IP Man as a hero and a symbol of Chinese national resistance.