Not far from Shanghai, in a country town stands the palatial home of the Pang family. Old Master Pang is an addict who brings up his beautiful daughter Ruyi on opium smoke. Her older ... 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.
'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 »
A spurned lover seeks a rich man for revenge. A random onlooker -- who witnessed the public assault committed by the rich man against the lover -- seeks for monetary compensation for his ... See full summary »
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 »
When a leprous winery owner in 1930s China dies a few days after his arranged marriage, his young widow is forced to run the winery to make a living while contending with bandits, her drunkard lover, and the invading Japanese army.
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
Kaige Chen's epic co-incidentally covers much of the same historical period as Xiaowen Zhou's Qin Song /Emperor's Shadow (1996) but, despite the greater length and presumably larger budget, it emerges as the lesser of the two epics. Both films concentrate on the first unification of China by the ruthless and troubled King of Qin and feature a conspicuous branding of a female lead. But whereas Emperor's Shadow gives the whole process an obsessive gravitas, despite Kaige Chen's best efforts (and he manages some beautiful looking compositions) the present production is more diffuse and, to me anyway, was on a different level. The earlier film is more powerful (there is nothing as striking as the Tarkovsky-like 'sacrifice of the bells' moment, which is at the start of Qin Song, for instance) even though Kaige Chen has the full advantage of some marvellous locations. The portrait of the Qin King is also less impressive here. Fengyi Zhan simply has far less of a cruel, regal presence in the role than does Wen Jiang, and there is nothing like the overpowering relationship between the Emperor-to-be and his 'soulmate' - be it assassin or musician - that exists in the earlier work holding the long narrative together.
Having said that, there is much well mounted angst and drama as the king inevitably exploits many of him around him, some grand battle scenes, and a lot else to enjoy. I would also add Musa to the list of worth-seeing Asian epics which are currently available on cheap import DVDs. This current title has the best picture with none of the occasionally distracting compression problems of the the others (the film is on a 2 sided disk).
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this