House of Flying Daggers (Shi mian mai fu; Lovers) - Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, Ziyi Zhang, Yimou Zhang
Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities
At its height, the Tang Dynasty was one of the most enlightened empires in Chinese history. But in 859 CE, the dynasty is in decline. The Emperor is incompetent and the government is corrupt. Unrest is spreading throughout the land, and many rebel armies are forming in protest. The largest, and most prestigious, is an underground alliance called the House of Flying Daggers.
The House of Flying Daggers operates mysteriously, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Thus, they earned the support and admiration of the people and expanded quickly. Based in Feng Tian County, close to the Imperial Capital, the House of Flying Daggers has long been a thorn in the side of their hated rivals, the local deputies.
To the fury of the deputies, even after they fought and killed the leader of the House of Flying Daggers, the House continues to thrive. Under the leadership of a mysterious New Leader, the House of Flying Daggers grows ever more powerful. Feng Tian County's two local captains, Leo (Andy Lau Tak Wah) and Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) are ordered to capture the new leader within ten days.
Captain Leo suspects that Mei (Zhang Ziyi), the beautiful new dancer at the local Peony Pavilion is actually the daughter of the old leader, and hatches a plan to arrest her and bring her in for questioning. When Mei refuses to divulge any information on the House of Flying Daggers, the two captains set up another plan. This time, Captain Jin will pretend to be a lone warrior called Wind and rescue Mei from prison, earning her trust and escorting her to the secret headquarters of the House of Flying Daggers.
The plan works, and on their long journey to the House, Jin and Mei warm to each other. Before long, Mei has developed feelings for her enigmatic protector, Wind. For his part, Jin is surprised to find himself falling for Mei's headstrong charm. Both struggle to contain their feelings, but under the starry night, their irrepressible desire is almost beyond their control. Danger lurks in the forest surrounding them, and the wind is still, as if sensing the tension in the air.
What lies ahead for Jin and Mei, these star-crossed lovers? If this is true love, then why are there plots in their heads... and secrets in their hearts?
Theatrical propaganda posters
Target demographic movie keyword propaganda
- Film martial arts romance China action bamboo love relationship assassin
Persons of interest
- Takeshi Kaneshiro .... Jin
- Andy Lau .... Leo
- Ziyi Zhang .... Mei
- Dandan Song .... Yee
- Feng Li .... Screenwriter
- Bin Wang .... Screenwriter
- Yimou Zhang .... Screenwriter
- Yimou Zhang .... Director
Cinematic intelligence sources
- House of flying daggers (Shi mian mai fu; Lovers) official movie site
- House of flying daggers (Shi mian mai fu; Lovers) film production notes
- House of Flying Daggers (Shi mian mai fu; Lovers) QuickTime movie trailers
- Awards and film festivals:
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS - Oscars) 2005: Nominated: Best Achievement in Cinematography (Xiaoding Zhao)
- Australian Film Institute (AFI) 2005: Won: International award for excellence in filmmaking (Roger Savage)
- Boston Society of Film Critics 2004: Won: Best Director (Zhang Yimou), Best Foreign Language Film
- British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) 2004: Nominated: Best Actress (Ziyi Zhang), Best Cinematography (Xiaoding Zhao), Best Editing (Long Cheng), Best Production Design (Tingxiao Huo), Best Costume Design (Emi Wada), Best Make Up/Hair (Kwan Lee-Na, Yang Xiaohai, Siu-Mui Chau), Best Sound, Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects, Best Film not in the English Language
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards 2005: Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film
- Cinematic Intelligence Agency Trenchcoat Awards 2005: Won: Best actor - Non-human (The bamboo); Nominated: Best cinematographer (Xiaoding Zhao), Best title, Best film - Subtitles, Best effects
- European Film Awards 2004: Nominated: Screen International Award (Yimou Zhang - China)
- Golden Rooster Awards 2004: Won: Best Art Direction (Tingxiao Huo); Nominated: Best Director (Yimou Zhang), Best Picture, Best Sound (Jing Tao)
- Hollywood Foreign Press Association (Golden Globes) 2004: Nominated: Best Foreign Language Film
- Image Awards 2005: Nominated: Outstanding Independent or Foreign Film
- International Press Academy Golden Satellite Awards 2004: Won: Cinematography (Xiaoding Zhao), Visual Effects (Andy Brown, Kirsty Millar); Nominated: Motion Picture - Foreign Film, Film Editing (Long Cheng), Sound - Editing and Mixing (Jing Tao), Art Direction and Production Design (Zhong Han), Costume Design (Emi Wada)
- London Film Festival 2004: The Times gala
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 2004: Won: Best Foreign Language Film (China/Hong Kong)
- Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA 2005: Nominated: Golden Reel Award: Best Sound Editing in Foreign Features
- MTV Movie Awards 2005: Nominated: Best fight (Ziyi Zhang vs The Emperor's Guards)
- National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, USA 2004: Won: Outstanding Production Design (Tingxiao Huo)
- National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 2005: Won: Best Cinematography (Xiaoding Zhao), Best Director (Yimou Zhang)
- Online Film Critics Society Awards 2005: Nominated: Best Cinematography (Xiaoding Zhao), Best Editing (Long Cheng), Best Foreign Language Film (China)
- San Sebastián International Film Festival 2004: Zabaltegi: Festivals' Top
- São Paulo International Film Festival 2004: International perspective
- See also The emperor and the assassin (Jing ke ci qin wang), Hero (Ying xiong)
- Studios and distributors:
Special Agent Matti
House of Flying Daggers (or, as I like to think of it, House of Flying Cutlery - if you've ever seen me cooking you'll know what I mean) is as beautiful, poetic and epic as its forerunner Crouching tiger, hidden dragon (Wu hu zang long). It's also just 2 minutes shy of being the same length - 2 hours. You must keep in mind that:
- The Chinese haven't been exposed to television advertising the way we Western Devils have so their attention span is much longer, and
- House of Flying Daggers is opera and should be viewed through the same forgiving eye - Willing Suspension of Disbelief™ does wonders for the larger than life.
Takeshi Kaneshiro is way sexy as the roguish womaniser, Captain Jin. He also does some mean martial arts. Zhang Ziyi makes the perfect counterpart (her balls are just as big as his) while Andy Lau Tak Wah's tragic Captain Leo makes a great straight man. The scenery, with the help of Australia's Own™ Animal Logic, is breath-taking.
House of Flying Daggers is beautiful, tragic, awesome and way cool. See it.
Media intelligence (DVD)
- Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
- Languages: Mandarin
- Picture: Widescreen
- Special features:
- Biographies: Cast and crew
- Making of - including interviews and behind-the-scenes
- Site visits
- Featurettes: Story board comparisons
- Galleries: Photographic
- Subtitles: English, English captions, English closed captions
Security censorship classification
M (Medium level violence)
118 minutes (1:58 hours)
Not for public release in Australia before date
Film: 17 February 2005