The Empress (Ye yan) 2006
- Director: Xiaogang Feng
- Based loosely on Shakespeare’s Hamlet
- Cast: Ziyi Zhang, You Ge
- Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
o None of them
· Why? Shakespeare
- Seen: 3 July 2016
The scenery and costumes are stunningly beautiful. The killing and battles are blood spattering ballets. Murder most foul is made exquisitely gory, full of Crouch Tiger leaping and soaring Kung Fu-ish artistry.
The characters are roughly recognisable though the Gertrude character is the Hamlet character’s stepmother and they are in love with each other. She is also a skilled sword fighter and she is not dainty about wielding power and striving for more.
It’s confusing but captivating. It’s hard to follow but there’s enough of Hamlet to understand the story. The complexity of the characters’ psychology is true to Shakespeare.
The gluttony of violence – artistic though it is – is a bit too much of a good thing. It certainly is dramatic however. And a visual masterpiece. And sensual. And theatrical. Utterly magnificent.
But…? Why the mystery ending?
4 ½ * of 5
For more on Shakespeare see my book Shakespeare Calling – the book