Ye yan   2006   China The Banquet
The Banquet Image Cover
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Director:Xiaogang Feng
Studio:Huayi Brothers
Writer:Gangjian Qiu, William Shakespeare
IMDb Rating:6.5 (3,838 votes)
Awards:7 wins & 10 nominations
Genre:Action, Drama
Duration:131 min
Xiaogang Feng  ...  (Director)
Gangjian Qiu, William Shakespeare  ...  (Writer)
Ziyi Zhang  ...  Empress Wan
You Ge  ...  Emperor Li
Daniel Wu  ...  Prince Wu Luan
Xun Zhou  ...  Qing Nu
Jingwu Ma  ...  Minister Yin Taichang
Xiaoming Huang  ...  General Yin Sun
Zhonghe Zhou  ...  Chamberlain
Zeng Qiusheng  ...  Governor Pei Hong
Xu Xiyan  ...  Ling
Liu Yanbin  ...  Messenger
Ma Lun  ...  Pharmacist
Xiang Bin  ...  Imperial Guard
Chunyu Zheng  ...  Imperial Guard
Bing Bo  ...  Executioner
Kai Cui  ...  Dancer
Li Zhang  ...  Cinematographer
Comments: Boy did this improve with a re-watch. Actually, it didn't improve but I enjoyed it a lot more. It has a "When movies were movies" air about it now after a dozen years have passed and China doesn't make good movies any more (they do, but too few). As all the other reviews here point out: it's beautifully photographed. It's eye candy deluxe.

What really engaged me this time were the various performance pieces and the soundtrack. Atonal opera with a battle beat. A lot of the traditional, minimalist Chinese performance and music seem like (Western) avant-garde modern dance.

There's a lot of over-the-top Shakespearean melodrama and wuxia fighting going on too. And everybody dies. How cool is that?

Summary: 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.

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