A loose adaptation of Hamlet, "The Night Banquet" is set in an empire in chaos. The Emperor, the Empress, the Crown Prince, the Minister and the General all have their own enemies they would like to finish off at a night banquet.
Qin Fen, a funny, honest, single inventor, met a girl called Smiley, who was in agony of her boyfriend's betrayal. They traveled to Hokkaido, tried to help Smiley cure her pain in heart, ... See full summary »
A con-team couple (Andy Lau & Rene Liu) head west after taking a city businessman for his BMW. But an encounter with a naive young carpenter travelling home with his life savings challenges their fate as thieves.
Yankie director Don Tyler faces mounting insecurity and declining health while on location in Beijing, so his assistant hires down-and-out camerman YoYo to take the reins. Scrambling, ... See full summary »
1942, Nanjing (Nanking). Following a series of assassination attempts on officials of the Japanese-controlled puppet government, the Japanese spy chief gathers a group of suspects in a ... See full summary »
To save the only child of the Zhao Family, whose entire clan was massacred at the hands of a nefarious minister, a doctor sacrifices his own son; after the Zhao child grows up, the doctor becomes intent on seeking his vengeance.
Four friends come up with an unusual idea to make some money and have fun doing it. For a small fee, they will impersonate and act out any character role for their customers. In the course ... See full summary »
Set in a small Chinese village, where an illegal trade in human blood has caused the spread of HIV; two AIDS sufferers surprisingly fall in love with each other and decide to risk everything to pursue their last chance at happiness.
In 907 AD, the Tang Dynasty is in tatters; infighting snarls the imperial family. Crown Prince Wu Luan loves Little Wan, but his father takes her as his Empress. Wu Luan goes into exile, studying dance and music. His uncle murders his father, taking throne and Empress; uncle sends assassins to kill Wu Luan. The Crown Prince eludes death and comes to court. The Emperor arranges for Little Wan's coronation and dispatches Wu Luan to a distant land; he then calls for a midnight banquet on the 100th day of his rule. Poison, treachery, Wu Luan's return, and the love of the innocent Qing for Wu Luan set up the final entanglements. No Fortinbras or Horatio lay the dead to rest. Written by
It has long bothered me that Feng Xiaogang's movies don't get U.S. releases...and so I have had to make a habit of getting them sent to me from overseas or other equally inconvenient means. Having discovered his movies while living in China several years ago, I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Ye Yan and watching its progress through "pre-production" notes on IMDb. I was a little intrepid--one of the elements I love about Feng Xiaogang's movies is their ability to create inordinate beauty in contemporary settings that many would not see the beauty in...and I knew this was to be a film of another era. (In truth, I feared a little that Feng was going the way of Zhang YiMou--from the extraordinary into the traditional, beautiful, but traditional.) But I also love Feng's cultural, historical, and linguistic layering--and what better basis for that can their be but Hamlet? (Noting for fairness sake that I am an English Professor, and love Hamlet above all other Elizabethan dramas.) However, this film is, while traditional in setting, still extraordinary. The use of masks and movement play with Shakespearean notions of the play within the play/all the world's a stage. And, for me at least, this is the most impressive layer of the film. The story is well done; though one should not watch it as a "version" of Hamlet, but rather as "inspired by" Hamlet. Both Ye Yan and Hamlet address political, cultural and social issues through the story, but their issues are not identical. At this point, I would say this is my second favorite Feng Xiaogang film--only behind Tian Xia Wu Zei--but oh how I wish they would all be released in America. I read in the trivia of this web page that Ye Yan will be nominated for the Oscars and I hope this is true......mostly on the off chance that if it wins--despite the American public not seeing it--that it will lead to some of Feng Xiaogang's movies getting an American release.
21 of 32 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?