Emperor and The Assassin
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The Emperor and The Assassin

4.0 1
Director: Chen Kaige

Cast: Chen Kaige, Gong Li, Zhang Fengyi, Li Xuejian

     
 

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From the director of Farewell My Concubine comes this complex and lavish historical epic documenting the story of the man who would become the first emperor of unified China, arriving on DVD from Columbia/TriStar Video. Viewable in the original 1.85:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio (enhanced for widescreen TVs) and with audio options of Spanish or Mandarin…  See more details below

Overview

From the director of Farewell My Concubine comes this complex and lavish historical epic documenting the story of the man who would become the first emperor of unified China, arriving on DVD from Columbia/TriStar Video. Viewable in the original 1.85:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio (enhanced for widescreen TVs) and with audio options of Spanish or Mandarin Dolby Digital Surround with optional English, Spanish, or French subtitles, this release also offers a few enticing extra features. Hear a detailed account of the production in a director's commentary track, read the production notes and talent files, and watch the original theatrical trailer.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Amy Robinson
Chinese director Chen Kaige's lavish yet oddly intimate epic set in 3rd century BC draws parallels to 20th China, giving it an immediacy and a resonance often lacking from conventional period. It tells the story of the King of Qin who sets out on a bloody campaign to unite the seven kingdoms of China. His purpose is to finally bring peace to the country, but personal rancor turns the emperor's noble goal into a quest for revenge. Spectacularly photographed by cinematographer Zhao Fei, the massive battle sequences are both thrilling and horrifying, utilizing thousands of actual Red Guard soldiers. In a film filled with memorable performances, Wang Zhiwen has the flashiest turn as the seemingly idiotic Marquis, whose smiling countenance hides his duplicitous nature. Kaige's recurring critique of the personal and societal effects of the excesses of power help to make The Emperor and the Assassin a personal statement against violence and tyranny; he even appears in the film as prime minister Lu Buwei.
All Movie Guide
Working with by far his largest budget to date, Chinese master Chen Kaige orchestrates an epic -- and epically melodramatic -- reproduction of the bloody unification of China in The Emperor and the Assassin. From the first moments, with the massive title cards bearing down on the massive battlefields, everything about this film is big. Yet it's Chen's trademark skill that he can focus down to the minute emotional nuances of his characters, allowing the big and the small to exist harmoniously in the same material. It's also pretty impressive that he can maintain a sense of suspense, especially when the outcome of the central narrative is known to all students of Chinese history. Li Xuejian portrays the emperor as a man occasionally conflicted about what he must do, but he also ends up with so much blood on his hands, tempered by so little pity, that viewers almost require his eventual destruction as a precondition for their catharsis. The fact that it's not as simple as that doesn't diminish the experience of watching the climax. Chen has gone to great lengths in the decorating of these sets and the recreation of this era, but still has plenty left for a juicy and interwoven political narrative. Certain revelations verge on the stuff of soap opera, but Chen embraces their operatic side, rather than their soapy side. The soul of the movie is Gong Li's Lady Zhao, forced to confront what she's refused to acknowledge her entire life, and Zhang Fengyi's weary assassin, as doomed by his prior choices as by anything that lies ahead of him. The Emperor and the Assassin leaves the melancholy impression that even virtuous actions carry heavy costs, and that the eventual verdicts of history are of little consolation in the present.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/13/2000
UPC:
0043396050457
Original Release:
1999
Rating:
R
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Surround]
Time:
2:41:00

Special Features

Digitally mastered audio & anamorphic video; Widescreen presentation; 2-channel Dolby surround sound; Original language: Mandarin Chinese; Additional language: Spanish; Subtitles: English, Spanish, French; Director's commentary; Theatrical trailer; Talent files; Interactive menus; Production notes; Scene selections

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gong Li Lady Zhao
Zhang Fengyi Jing Ke
Li Xuejian Ying Zheng, King Of Qin
Sun Zhou Dan, Prince Of Yan
Wang Zhiwen Marquis Changxin
Lu Xiaohe Gen. Fan Yuqi
Chen Kaige Lu Buwei
Gu Yongfei Queen Mother
Ding Haifeng Qin Wuyang
Zhao Benshan Gao Jianli
Pan Changjiang Prison Official
Zhou Xun Blind Girl

Technical Credits
Chen Kaige Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Wang Chao Asst. Director
Zhao Fei Cinematographer
Satoru Iseki Producer
Tao Jing Sound/Sound Designer
Zhao Jiping Score Composer
Tu Juhua Production Designer
Tsuguhiko Kadokawa Executive Producer
Shirley Kao Producer
Wang Peigong Screenwriter
Han Sanping Executive Producer
Zhou Xinxia Editor

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Selections
1. Start [3:52]
2. Qin Invades Han [2:33]
3. King of Qin [2:56]
4. War Council [7:29]
5. Lady Zhao [9:54]
6. Prince of Yan [3:20]
7. Qin Eliminates Han [3:26]
8. "Brand my face." [5:00]
9. Offer & Message [5:45]
10. The Assassin [5:25]
11. Punishing a Thief [8:38]
12. "We need your help." [7:34]
13. "I once killed a girl." [6:31]
14. The Children [7:28]
15. Marquis' Coup [6:38]
16. Fratricide [4:16]
17. Last Laugh [3:14]
18. Qin Ancestral Temple [14:32]
19. The Situation [2:19]
20. Lady Zhao [7:07]
21. "Children! Jump!" [:36]
22. Zhao Defeated [3:27]
23. Buried Alive [2:43]
24. Fan's Gift [7:42]
25. The Emporer and the Assassin [8:16]
26. Envoy From Yan [2:43]
27. Assassin Assassinated [7:35]
28. Lady Zhao Returns [4:34]

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