Thursday, 6 September 2007

The Emperor's Shadow (1996)

If you like Cleopatra (1963), you would likely enjoy this movie as well. The 2 movies do share many things in common: sweeping historic epics, grand vista, the 1st emperors (of Ancient Rome and China), a tripartite relationship between 2 men (1 of them is the emperor) and a woman that give way to power plays, and the marriage is for the purpose of political expedience. The only significant difference is that the female in this movie is the Emperor's favourite daughter, whom the 2 men are vying love and affection for. Also the relationships between the 3 in this film are much more complex and filled with contradictions and ironies.

The closing scene showing the rite of the Qin King becomes the Emperor of China. After ascending a steep and long flight of stairs onto the top of the altar, the Emperor lit the enormous ding (or cauldron) with a torch. The scene has the pomp and ceremony of the Beijing Olympic 2008, which Zhang Yimou the director designed. Did he design the stage set for this closing scene? I guess not.

This is better than Cleopatra.

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