Monday, February 18, 2008

The Banquet [Ye Yan]

The Banquet [Ye Yan]. Dir. Feng Xiaogang. Perf. Zhang Ziyi, Daniel Wu, Zhou Xun, Ge You, Ma Jingwu. 2006. DVD. Mega Star, 2006.

Alternate Citation: The Legend of the Black Scorpion [a.k.a. The Banquet (Ye Yan)]. Dir. Feng Xiaogang. Perf. Zhang Ziyi, Daniel Wu, Zhou Xun, Ge You, Ma Jingwu. 2006. DVD. Dragon Dynasty, 2008.

I’m not entirely in tune with the genre of this film, but I’m fascinated by the adaptation itself. The genre, I suppose, is Wuxia. That’s a kind of Kung Fu action film coming out of Hong Kong. Plenty of slow-motion violence fills the film—the aesthetics are like ballet, and that may have a softening effect on the stabbings and choppings.

In any case, that’s not altogether what I’m interested in. The film is a retelling of Hamlet, and it stays fairly close to the plot, but it varies from it in really interesting ways. I don’t want to provide spoilers here, but (if you can take the beheadings and slow-motion blood splattering) you should see this film. The cinematography is fabulously beautiful! Stunning.

See a slideshow of selected stills from the film:

Links: The Film at IMDB.

Click below to purchase the film from
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Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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