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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(May contain spoilers) This film is definitely no typical martial arts film. Dealing more with a warrior's psyche rather than physical prowess (although there are plenty of interesting action scenes for those interested). The beautiful desert scenery made me think of an hour glass where the sand is time. The characters in the film all symbolically slip through Leslie Cheung's fingers like sand because they all fail to connect with one another and isolation and loneliness prevail.The film shows how memories can be used as weapons, to manipulate, empower or weaken. Great camera work and performances, (Tony Leung Chiu Wai at his most tortured as a blind swordsman, Brigitte Lin gives a powerful voice to all our inner duels with our Yin and Yangs) Wong KAr Wai-as always, has produced a real work of art. The themes of memory and loss can also been seen in (the amazing) Chungking Express, which KAr Wai shot and completed while editing Ashes of Time.The many story lines may be hard to follow, however Ashes of Time is still definitely well worth the watch.
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