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.
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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
This is a very well made production of an epic story placed in 10th century China. Magnificent scenes of ritual, majestic scenery, beautiful landscapes, great stage design, artful choreography and above all a very good sense of the theatrical that echos ancient Greek Tragedy. One thing that seems to be wearing out in Chinese movies of this kind are the long violently cruel scenes that are attempted to be beautified and the ongoing fighters who fly allover. In a choreographic sense they are of great merit but a lot is unnecessary. Zhang Ziyi is one more good reason to see this movie. I found her convincing in her role although somewhat stiff. I would like to see more of her in the future, more such great productions with even less fighting and more content that Chinese culture can easily provide.
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