House of Flying Daggers
House of Flying Daggers (Shi mian mai fu)
Dir: Yimou Zhang
Release: U.S. Limited release 12/03/04
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0385004/
As some of you reading this know, I have only recently come around to watching martial arts films. Like it or not, it was Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon that got me started. Now, I must say, I am becoming a fan. While I have begun to appreciate the action sequences in the films, what I have come to love is the imagery. The excellent use of color, texture and cinematography in these films is superb and House of Flying Daggers is no exception.
The story line was believable to a point, but close to the end it really began to fall apart. Though I must admit I was so drawn into the beauty of the film, I often forgot to read the subtitles. From the very beginning Yimou Zhang creates a beautiful world full of color that both seems to conflict and coordinate with itself. The beauty of the mise en scene extended beyond color and ventured far into the world of texture. The entire film was an acrylic painting in motion.
As well as beautiful image, the sound design of the film was superb. There are entire sequences where the image and sound blend so well I almost forgot I was watching a film. Every sound detail was attended to; down to the far off noises of a forest. In certain sequences, the sight and sound were so strong it was almost as though they provided inspiration for taste and smell. There were times when I could almost taste a scene.
If you are to see this film, see it on the largest screen with the best sound you can. It will truly envelop you in a world created by Yimou Zhang.