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Ip Man

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Zoey McKinney
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Ip Man

Ip Man is a 2008 Chinese movie about the Cantonese martial arts master who popularized Wing Chun. The movie takes place in a village called Foshan in the 1930s, showing the changes that took place as the Japanese invaded China. The movie’s clear message of nationalism could be used in a classroom to demonstrate the kind of political message that the Chinese government encourages (or requires) in Chinese art. In the movie, Ip Man represents all of China. He is skilled and powerful, yet calm, friendly, and almost non-confrontational. This changes with the appearance of the Japanese, who are portrayed as brutal and unforgiving, the cause of each character’s problems. The final fight, between Ip Man and the Japanese General Miura, clearly symbolizes China’s struggle against its oppressors and its ultimate victory. This perspective on the Second Sino-Japanese War might be interesting for students to examine as they look at the ways in which China represents itself and its historical enemies in the media.