Clans of Intrigue | Chicago Reader

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A master swordsman, accused of murder by the emissary of an all-female palace, is given a month to clear his name; meanwhile renowned martial artists turn up dead after imbibing a liquid called Magic Water. Adapted from a novel by Gu Long, this 1977 Hong Kong feature integrates several bizarre subplots involving bisexuality and transvestitism; there's significantly more subtext here than in most kung fu films, though the meaning is often unclear. Huang Chieh provided the adroit camerawork, and the set design is splendidly ornate. Chu Yuan (The Magic Blade) directed. In Mandarin with subtitles. 99 min.

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