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Ou-yang Feng lives in the middle of a desert, where he acts as a middle man to various swordsmen in ancient China. One of those swordsmen is Huang Yao-shi, who has found some magic wine that causes one to forget the past. At another time, Huang met Mu-rong Yin and under the influence of drink, promised to marry Mu-rong's sister Mu-rong Yang. Huang jilts her, and Mu-rong Yin hires Ou-yang to kill Huang. But then Mu-rong Yang hires Ou-yang to protect Huang. This is awkward, because Mu-rong Yang and Mu-rong Yin are in reality the same person. Other unrelated plot lines careen about. Among them is Ou-yang's continuing efforts to destroy a band of horse thieves. Oy-yang recruits another swordsman, a man who is going blind and wants to get home to see his wife before his sight goes completely. The swordsman is killed. Ou-yang then meets another swordsman who doesn't like wearing shoes. Oy-yang sends this man after the horse thieves, with better results. We then find out what a man must give... Written by
Scott Hamilton <email@example.com>
Slow, beautiful and intense... best viewed if you are alone
Although I enjoy them, I seldom re-watch slow and introspective movies. Ashes of Time is the exception to the rule, as it haunts me so much that I have already given it three viewings! It may be because of the wonderful pictures, the essential yet poignant dialogues or the grave & epic music, nevertheless Ashes of Time is a fascinating movie!
Set in a tavern in the middle of the desert, it tells us stories of different swordsmen and deals with the theme of unrequited love. All the people, in fact, had to face a rejection.. and now strive to find a way to overcome the delusion and go on with their life. Swordsmanship is mostly viewed as an outlet to bring out the inner passions and frustrations.
The protagonist, Ouyang Feng [Leslie Cheung] is one of those swordsmen, who left his lady [Maggie Cheung] and his village to pursue fame and glory, convinced that she would have waited for him to return. Now instead he faces loneliness and the fact that she has married his elder brother.
The most peculiar aspect of the movie is the pictures, so beautifully shot that each still can make a wonderful portrait. Even the battles, rather than being filmed continuously, are rendered as a sequence of separate shots, thus remaining more indelibly impressed in our head. Indeed, the movie also focuses about memory (whom the movie title probably refers to) and its power to keep alive moments of the past, that otherwise would perish in the flow of time. Highly recommended! 9/10
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