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'Yellow Earth' focuses on the story of a communist soldier who is sent to the countryside to collect folk songs for the Communist Revolution. There he stays with a peasant family and learns... 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.
China 2.200 years ago. It's the time of the Qin dynasty. The emperor seeks immortality by busily letting his alchemists search for a formula and building the famous terracotta army from the... See full summary »
Gong Li stars in this low-key drama about a single mother who will do anything to provide for her son. Sun Liying (Li) struggles to care for her hearing-impaired child Zheng Da (Gao Xin) after her taxi driver husband divorces.
Taking place in the Tang Dynasty, a demon cat appears and breaks the peace of Chang'an City, causing a series of strange events. Poet Bai Letian and Monk Kukai join hands to investigate the... See full summary »
In the 3rd Century BC, Ying Zheng, heir to the Kingdom of Qin, seeks to dominate the remaining six Chinese kingdoms. Ying's strategy is to seem invincible. Ying sends his concubine Zhao to the Han Kingdom as a spy, to enlist an assassin he can conquer. Zhao persuades Jing Ke, but falls in love.Written by
The staging of the battle sequences between the forces of Qin and its enemies, Han and Zhao, also proved to be a major logistical feat. Shot on the Bashan plateau, bordering Inner Mongolia, these dramatic scenes involved the coordination of thousands of horses, chariots, stunt people and extras. Huilui was chosen as the site for the exterior shots of the Zhao countryside, while Shidu, southwest of Beijing, served as the location of Jing Ke's fateful farewell at the Yishui river. See more »
Kaige Chen's preferred cut ran 168 minutes. Following pressure from his producers and the U.S. distributor, he prepared a very different 162-minute cut that subsequently became the standard version of the film. The 168-minute cut was only released in Japan and has a more linear narrative, as opposed to the five-chapter structure used in the shorter version. See more »
I've read some grumbles about the court scenes. These people betray their ignorance. This production went to simply amazing lengths to recreate all aspects of the period in which the story occurred. Courtly manners are something few people outside the court ever see. While the acting may appear highly stylized, it is, in fact, as close a replication as possible of the behavior of individuals in their particular stations as the director could create. The actor's facial expressions are a marvel, particularly the duplicitous Marquis Changxin and the King's mother.
There are, of course, reflections of both Greek and Shakespearian tragedy in the relationship between the king, his parents and his love. The juxtaposition of the king transforming from good to bad and the assassin from bad to good provides much food for thought on the evolution of an individual's nature. This movie would provide much to ponder in a college course on the humanities.
At the same time, it almost rushes along, even in the slowest scenes heading towards an inexorable denouement. One suspects the involvement of large portions of the troop movements, which were quite awesome. It makes The Lord of the Rings battle scenes pale by comparison. Few directors have the ability to literally field thousands of humans on the field of battle just for art's sake. I recall one scene in which at least 30,000 troops can be seen moving across a huge plain. The logistics for such a shot would have been staggering.
I could go on... but simply, I can't recommend this film highly enough.
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