Iron and Silk

Director: Shirley Sun
Screenwriters: Mark Salzman, Shirley Sun

Institute History

  • 1990 Sundance Film Festival


Iron and Silk is the winning love story of an innocent young American in China who is devoted to all things Chinese, He may woo the chaste, English-novel reading girl, hut he is really betrothed to Chinese martial arts and his "iron-fisted" master. Based on the acclaimed book of the same name, Iron and Silk limns the experiences of author Mark Salzman, who co-wrote the screenplay and makes his film debut playing himself, The project came to fruition in Hangzhou, China as a result of the on-location expertise of director-producer Shirley Sun.

Driven by his passion for kung-fu movies, Mark Salzman learns to speak Chinese while washing dishes in a Chinatown restaurant; he later graduates from Yale with a degree in Chinese language and literature. Of course he still has a lot to learn about life. With China's doors open to the West, he grabs his first chance-teaching English to a Chinese group called the "Middle-aged English Teachers," They originally taught Russian, but were told to forget Russian and learn English for political reasons.

As Mark navigates through the waters of cultural dislocation, his dream comes true. He apprentices himself to the fierce Pan Quinfu, a spellbinding martial-arts master, played with gusto by Salzman's real-life teacher.

Saturday, January 20 7:15 p.m.
Holiday Village Cinema II

Monday, January 22 10:00 a.m.
Egyptian Theatre

Thursday, January 25 10:15 p.m.
Holiday Village Cinema ll

Saturday, January 27 7:00 p.m.
Prospector Square Theatre


— John Pierson

Screening Details

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