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The Emperor and the Assassin

Director:Chen Kaige
Writers:Wang Peigong and Chen Kaige
Sony Pictures Classics; R; 161 minutes
Cast:Gong Li, Zhang Fengyi, Li Xuejian

The Emperor and the Assassin is a broad historical drama about China's first emperor, Ying Zheng (Li Xuejian), a man who united the nation through epic intimidation, bloodshed, and betrayal. Director Chen Kaige's other monumental outings (Yellow Earth, Farewell My Concubine) appeared more personal, although this is a well-realized tale with considerable weight. Star Gong Li gives a standout performance as Lady Zhao, the Emperor's lover and only trustworthy friend, whom he eventually betrays.

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