He roughly sketches out the story of the real Ip Man — who was Bruce Lee’s teacher — but takes plenty of liberties, particularly in the romance department. The unrequited love between Ip Man and the fictional Gong Er is a slender arc in the movie, but it’s a potent one. The two are separated through much of the story, which makes their reconnections that much more tender.
Wong can turn a plain coat button into a symbol of chaste and enduring love, and Leung has the kind of face cinema was invented for. Even when he seems to be doing nothing, you can see the ghosts of tension, relief or yearning in his eyes and the planes of his brow; instead of opening up, he begins by concealing.
Sept. 6-12, 2013