Bruce Lee enter the dragon

Heritage museum exhibit stands in for star's disputed former home.

HONG KONG – Hong Kong is to honor Bruce Lee, the action star who made the city his home in the 1960s and early 1970s. But it is not the long-mooted restoration of Lee’s former home.

The government has created a semi-permanent exhibition about Lee’s life as part of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Known as “Bruce Lee: Kung Fu•Art•Life,” the show will open on Sat, July 20, the 40th anniversary of Lee’s death, and remain standing for five years.

“The late film star of international renown, had made tremendous contribution to the development of martial arts culture and cinematic arts. Many people, both locally and outside Hong Kong, are deeply interested in his life story,” said Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.

So also explained the impasse that his department reached after two years of negotiations with the present owner of a Kowloon Tong mansion that Lee had lived in. Billionaire philanthropist Yu Pangling had previously offered to donate the one-time love hotel to the government, but his conditions for doing so were considered too onerous. “Despite numerous rounds of discussion, no consensus could be reached with the property owner regarding the scale of restoration works to be carried out,” So said. Panglin has now reportedly put up the property for sale.

The Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers has produced a 75-minute documentary “The Brilliant Life of Bruce Lee”, which will be screened at the museum during the exhibition period.

Lee, who is credited with inventing the ‘Jeet Kune Do’ form of kung fu was born in San Francisco’s Chinatown, but he grew up and broke into film in Hong Kong. His five feature films, which included “Fists of Fury” and “Enter The Dragon” (pictured) boosted the popularity of martial arts films, and may even have helped change perceptions of Asian people in film. Lee died age 32.

“Unbeatable,” the Dante Lam-directed film about a down on his luck former boxer was today announced as the opening movie of the Summer International Film Festival (Aug 13-27), a youth-oriented spin-off event produced by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society.

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