The story of two kung fu masters: he comes from China’s south; she is from the north. His name is Ip Man; hers is Gong Er. Their paths cross in his hometown of Foshan on the eve of the Japanese invasion in 1936. China is in turmoil and the country’s south teeters on the brink of partition from the north. Gong Er’s father is a renowned grandmaster. He too travels to Foshan. The legendary brothel The Golden Pavilion, where the country’s best martial artists converge, is to be the venue for his retirement ceremony. This tale of betrayal, challenge, honour and love plays out against the chaotic backdrop of war and occupation. This is not the first time Wong Kar Wai has turned his hand to a martial arts film. Ashes of Time (1994), was a feast of visual impressions suffused with a profound sense of melancholy. Clashing swords, fighting fists and acrobatic bodies – in the new epic The Grandmaster external actions are similarly inseparable from the internal battles of the protagonists, as feelings are translated into movements, and motion becomes emotion.