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Purple Butterfly (2003)

Cast: Zhang Ziyi, Zhang Ziyi, Liu Ye, more...
Director: Lou Ye, Lou Ye
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Palm Pictures
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Politics and Social Issues, Japan, China
Running Time: 127 min.
Languages: Japanese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Directed by Lou Ye, Zi Hudie revolves around the underground faction of anti-Nipponese fighters in 1930s Shanghai, just prior to the onset of the Sino-Japanese war. It's only the beginning when Cynthia (Zhang Ziyi), a young Chinese woman, learns the news of her lover Itami's (Toru Nakamura) rapidly approaching return to the military. In a second and even more devastating blow, Cynthia's brother, a contributor to an anti-Japanese newspaper, is killed by a Japanese activist. Three years later, switchboard operator Tang Yiling (Li Bingbing) and Situ (Liu Ye), her fiancÚ, are introduced to Cynthia after inadvertently heading into a protest held by a resistance group code-named Purple Butterfly, of which Cynthia (who has since changed her name to Ding Hui) has become a part. Ultimately, a botched assassination attempt leaves Situ with a mysterious briefcase; now a suspect himself, Situ is arrested by none other than Itami, who, after reuniting with his old flame, has no idea of her role in a complicit plan to have his boss (Kin Ei) assassinated. ~ Tracie Cooper, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Purple Moviemaking by talltale February 17, 2005 - 8:16 PM PST
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
PURPLE BUTTERFLY is one pretty movie, filled with lots of colors and angst. Smoky blue often fills the screen, and tears slowly drip from the sad eyes of men and women. Blood flows copiously, too, because mucho shoot-outs occur during the 2 hours and ten minute length. There is little dialog at times (it's practically a silent movie for the first 10-15 minutes); then there will come a whole bunch of talking, much of it heavy-duty silly, filled with pompous pauses and meaningful (or maybe they're vacant) stares. The attractive cast looks good and moves well, and the director chooses, uniquely, not to tell us the time frame or location of the story until the very end. This is quite an original and--for anyone who is not already Chinese, Japanese or very familiar with Asian history circa the 1930s--superbly dumb idea. It has been a long time since I have seen a movie that could be enjoyed equally well (or badly) with the sound turned off. But, as I say, it is pretty, and if you're a fan of the lovely Ziyi Zhang ("Hero", "House of Flying Daggers"), you won't have wasted ALL your time.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 5.73)
33 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2003
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.

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