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Monday, 6 June 2011

The Banquet - A Chinese version of Hamlet (Yuen Wo-Ping Choreography)



This film was an absolute peach of a find. I bought it because of the person who did the choreography, Yeun Wo-Ping and the lady who starred in it as the Empress Dowager, Zhang Ziyi. She was great in the House of the Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Also, I have been rather taken by other Chinese movies like Hero with Jet Li and Red Cliff.

The Banquet is a story set in ancient China in the year 908 BC and the old Emperor has died suddenly. His brother - who is believed to have murdered the late Emperor, usurps the throne. The late Emperor has a son living in a drama school out in the wilderness. He is next in line and has affection for the Empress Dowager who is four years younger then he, yet is still his former step mother.

The story loosely follows Shakespeare's Hamlet. This film is a work of art with splendid settings that are beautifully surreal. I was mesmerised by this story and was totally glued to the television screen. The music was wonderful and contributed to this breath taking and stunning piece of entertainment.

The last scene, when the Emperor,s banquet begins, is glorious. The plans are set and you wait with burning anticipation as the grand finale reaches a peak. The grand music commences as Emperor and Empress stand in majestic glory and the courtesans do this fabulously elegant dance. 

The movie is in Mandarin (I think) but there are English sub titles. Don't overlook the movie because you lack the desire to read the sub titles - you will miss out on a quality story that is very beautiful, violent, sad and compelling.


    


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