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If you get a kick out of kungfu you don't want to miss this exhilarating film tracing the journey of five kungfu monks in search of the American dream. Hailng from China's legendary Shaolin Temple these men are not only accomplished Zen masters but famous kungfu stars with huge followings. Now they've left it all behind to forge a new future in America--Shaolin style--and bring their special brand of Martial Arts to the west. As they display their best kungfu moves for the camera the monks share with us their stories ambitions and visions of building American temples doing Las Vegas shows and producing Olympic sport champions. Bridging the vast divide between East and West they present a vivid contemporary portrait of the immigrant experience as each goes in search of their own meeting place between Shaolin kungfu Zen Buddhism and Western culture. Interspersed throughout the film is footage highlighting the history of China's famous temple as our monks close in on the answer to the ultimate question: will Shaolin change America or will America change Shaolin? DVD Features: 40 Minutes of Bonus Kungfu Footage; Animated Short on the Shaolin Temple; Filmmakers Biographies; Filmmakers Statement; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection (4:3 aspect ratio)
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The whirling kicks and swift punches of Shaolin kung fu have been used to dazzling, choreographic effect in hundreds of Hong Kong action movies. The fascinating documentary Shaolin Ulysses: Kung Fu Monks in America looks at some real-world practitioners, monks who have chosen to bring kung fu and Zen Buddhism to America. The resulting juxtapositions are surreal. As a monk and his American disciple are interviewed in a Las Vegas Hooter's, the disciple throws an arm around one of the busty waitresses and declares this to be his temple; the monk looks on quizzically. Another monk has married a Catholic woman from Brooklyn; another talks about trading martial arts classes for guitar lessons on a Lollapalooza tour; another teaches kung fu to stocky police officers in Houston, Texas. These culture clashes are constantly surprising, but the monks' devotion to their craft is even more deeply engaging. --Bret Fetzer
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