The Banquet

(Legend of the Black Scorpion)
(China, 2006, 129 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In Cantonese with English subtitles
CAST Zhang Ziyi, Ge You, Daniel Wu, Zhou Xun


Composer Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) contributes a lovely score to this visually dazzling Tang dynasty court intrigue starring Zhang Ziyi and Ge You (Farewell My Concubine).

Although it was released on DVD in the US under the unpretentious title ’Legend of the Black Scorpion’, the film’s story is a sexed up Hamlet. Daniel Wu (The Man with the Iron Fists) is the young prince vacillating between revenge and resignation when the love of his life (Zhang) is first married by his father, the Emperor, then widowed and remarried by his scheming uncle.

Mixing extraordinary pageantry with passionate, balletic martial arts sequences choreographed by the great Yuen Wo-ping, The Banquet is a thrilling aesthetic experience in the tradition of Hero and House of the Flying Daggers.

Composer Tan Dun has been acclaimed worldwide for his operas, all of which he has written with western audiences in mind. Vancouver Opera’s Canadian-premiere production of his 2001 work Tea: A Mirror of Soul (May 4-11, 2013) presents a highly engaging and accessible fusion of western opera and eastern myth.

"Highly entertaining costume melodrama on a magnificent canvas." Sean Axmaker, MSN

"Stunningly beautiful." Philip French, The Observer

"As eye-opening as it is thought-provoking… Brings new life to a classic… A true work of art." Bill Gibron, Pop Matters