Iron & Silk (1990 film)

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Iron & Silk
Directed by Shirley Sun
Written by Mark Salzman
Starring Mark Salzman
Running time
101 min
Country United States
Language English

Iron & Silk is a 1990 movie based on the eponymous book by American writer Mark Salzman. It details his journey to China after college to study Chinese wu shu, better known in the west as kung fu, and to teach English. Though not trained as an actor, Salzman starred as himself, as did Pan Qingfu, who claimed no one else could portray him on film.[1] Salzman's experiences occurred in Changsha, Hunan, though the film was shot in Hangzhou, Zhejiang. The film was directed by Shirley Sun, and was the editorial debut for Geraldine Peroni.


Mark Salzman always was interested in Kung-Fu and the Chinese culture, claims to have seen every Kung-Fu movie. 1982, with a degree in Chinese literature, he visits a Hunan province Medical university in China for two years to teach Chinese teachers the English language. He learns the refinements of correct behavior among Chinese people, makes friends with his pupils, falls in love with the young doctor Ming, learns Chinese Martial Art, WuShu (similar Kung-Fu) from the famous teacher Pan... but also learns about political repression, especially when he's forbidden contact with some of his friends.


Hangcheng Dong ... Teacher Cai Xihong Jiang Xihong Jiang ... Teacher Zhang Jeanette Lin Tsui Jeanette Lin Tsui ... Teacher Hei Qingfu Pan Qingfu Pan ... Teacher Mark Xudong Sun Xudong Sun ... Sinbad Funglin To Funglin To ... Old Sheep Vivian Wu Vivian Wu ... Ming Yang Xiru Yang Xiru ... Dr. Wang Xiao Ying Xiao Ying ... April Hu Yun Hu Yun ... Fatty Du Lu Zhiquan Lu Zhiquan ... Teacher Li Genyuan Zhuang Genyuan Zhuang ... Teacher Xu


The movie gained mostly positive reviews, ranging from a "modest charmer; a true sleeper"[2] to "unsophisticated [and] bittersweet".[3] The movie was met with some criticism, ranging from "an unhappy teenager's fantasy of finally fitting in"[4] to "we're talking geekarama here".[5]


  1. ^ Kristof, Nicholas D. (1989-01-22). "FILM; An Old Eli Performs As Kung Fu Star in China". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  2. ^ "Iron & Silk". Washington Post. 1991-03-08. Retrieved 2010-12-16. 
  3. ^ Thomas, Kevin (1991-03-08). "MOVIE REVIEW : 'Iron & Silk': Innocent Abroad". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-16. 
  4. ^ Kehr, Dave (1991-02-22). "Ambiguous 'Iron & Silk' Is Cut From Different Cloth". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  5. ^ "'Iron & Silk': Ok, It's Great Kung Fu But The Star Is A Wimp". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 

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