Hey QT Dont Fuck with Bruce Lee 4

In response to an earlier post in this series which referred to Bruce Lee’s ‘Lost Interview’, my friend, veteran Malaysian journalist and art writer Ooi Kok Chuen commented, “Bruce Lee is much misunderstood after all these years where he is seen as a supreme martial arts fighter. … his cult brand of Chinese martial art is more than stunning physical manoeuvres. It’s a philosophy, a discipline of the highest order, and on top of it all, a way of life.” Indeed, this philosophy/discipline was embodied in what I would call a post-traditional fighting system that Bruce called Jeet Kune Do. The Jeet Kune Do system seems to acknowledge the plurality of traditional forms while unifying then in a praxis.

In the interview Bruce Lee explains this praxis in terms of the relationships between martial arts, acting and life, “… all types of knowledge mean self-knowledge … [my students] want to learn to express themselves through some movement, be it anger, be it determination or whatsoever … to show … in combative form, the art of expressing the human body … it might sound too philosophical, but its unacting acting, or acting unacting. I mean, here is the natural instinct, and here is control. You are to combine the two in harmony … The ideal is unnatural naturalness or natural unnaturalness … ultimately, martial art means honestly expressing yourself … You have to keep your reflexes, so that when you want it, it’s there! When you want to move, you are moving. And when you move, you are determined to move …”

Another friend Hugo Moss, co-founder of Michael Chekhov Brasil responded to the same post by noting that Bruce lee’s praxis echoes that of Michael Chekhov (1891-1955), a Russian actor, director and teacher whose approach to actor training, rehearsal and performance continues to inspire artists around the world. Hugo notes that Chekhov posits the same “polarity of being in controlling and releasing yourself 100% free in the moment. It’s the creative process of meaningfully living ‘the tangible/material world’, ‘the cosmos/possible’ and ‘oneself’ in equal measure/harmony. yes there’s a polarity … In the creative act there is part of it which is a “doing” in the traditional sense, but then there is a “getting out of the way” and allowing the creative moment to flow … [and] that flow [is] this threefold consciousness – ‘Material World’ + ‘Cosmos & Imagination & the possible’ + ‘Self’, [with] our gesture unifying the first two.”

In the light of the profundity of Bruce Lee’s contribution, Tarantino’s project seems frivolous at best and at worst, a folie.

image: https://www.goalcast.com/2017/07/20/top-20-inspiring-bruce-lee-quotes/






Hey QT Dont Fuck with Bruce Lee 2

Please watch this interview from The Pierre Berton Show! It was recorded in 1971, lost for several years, and eventually rediscovered and aired in 1994 as ‘The Lost Interview’. I will not interpret or mediate for Bruce Lee, as I feel that his personality and ethos are quite palpable in his speech. I will only say that, for me, this interview reveals Quentin Tarantino’s take on Bruce Lee in his utterly reactionary film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as being misinformed or capricious at best and racist at its worst!

Incredibly, this film has been chosen by both the American Film Institute and the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of the year, it won Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards and that it is up for Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards as well as the British Academy Film Awards. I have to say that such wide ranging accolades for this film and this director, must reflect the underlying ignorance, indifference and ethnocentricity … racism even, of the industry as a whole.

Hey QT Dont Fuck with Bruce Lee 1

I have loved Quentin Tarantino for his Reservoir Dogs and for Pulp Fiction and I have forgiven him for many a tedious and pretentious flic on the podium of these two groundbreaking works. More significantly, I have given him, and his celluloid surrogate Samuel L Jackson, licence to skate thin ice with regard to the ‘N word’. I gave this M_ _ _ _ _ R F _ _ _ _ _ R license on the basis that his oeuvre was A _ T; because rigid political correctness is tedious and damaging to culture, and even to the justice it purports to prompte; because I believed that Quentin’s ‘heart’ was in the right place on the questions of race in America; and most of all because ‘perhaps I did not get it yet’ but that ‘maybe I would on the next viewing’! Now, after viewing the jaded and reactionary Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (just once is all I could possibly bear!), I have clarity, and a correction to make – I was wrong! Quentin was wrong, QUENTIN IS WRONG! … Hey Academy of Motion Picture Arts … Dont give the C _ _ _ _ _ R an Oscar! It will only confirm your ensconcement in that quintessential, or should I say Quentinessential Americana of racism! … Kabali Da!

Image: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/tamil/movies/news/Rajinikanth-Kabali-meets-Bruce-Lee/articleshow/53961587.cms