Drama / Historical
What is Multi-Lingual DVDs?
| The Emperor's Shadow (1996)
Director: Chow Hiu
Wen, Ge You, Hui Cheng, Gwoh Chi Gwan
Epic about China's first emperor, his court musician, and his
beautiful daughter. Set circa 200 B.C., the story tells of how the
emperor and the musician, friends since boyhood, are torn apart by
conflicting emotional claims of loyalty and independence.
At the time, the most expensive Chinese film ever made, The Emperor's
Shadow features celebrated actors Jiang Wen (Ying Zheng), Gao Jianli (Ge
You), and Xu Qing (Ying's daughter, Yueyang). The film's been called
"the most lavish, eyeball-searing Sino-spectacle to date." (San
Francisco Bay Guardian).
The film shows what hubris can do to people in high places, where
pride goeth before the fall (to paraphrase an old saying). China's first
emperor, played by Jiang Wen, is trying to build a kingdom by defeating
all others to unify, united under his rule. He feels a national anthem
is necessary to bring the people around to the idea of one ruler, one
nation. To carry out this plan, he defeats and then recruits Ge You to
compose the anthem. The two share a moment together as children--a bond
that they later rekindle as adults.
What develops is the intriguing part of the film. We see the emperor
steadfast in his belief that he is the one to bring order. Killing to
control people is a tool he uses with great abandon. He doesn't think
twice when exercising his authority. His "shadow," Ge You, is
wholeheartedly against him on all fronts, fearing and loathing his
The dialogue is sharp and to the point. The actors are uniformly
excellent. The film has a very modern feel to it even though depicting
an age far removed from today. What makes this film so compelling is its
portrayal of people with idiosyncracies, mood swings, self absorption,
stubbornness. Basically, presenting people with their faults. And it is
through their faults that they define themselves. A major point that is
presented in the film is how blind, to things and surroundings, a person
may become when trying to attain one's goal, no matter what that might
Features music by Ryuichi Sakamoto.
List Price: US $17.95
English / Traditional Chinese
/ Simplified Chinese
(Can be played on any DVD player in the
"Some Content May Be Inappropriate For
Children" (roughly equal to an MPPA rating of
"PG-13") Films rated Category IIA may contain
mild violence such as martial arts, mild nudity that is
not sexually oriented, mild explicit language and some
mild adult situations.