Pin It

Purple Butterfly 

Dark and challenging, this 2003 suspense film from Chinese director Lou Ye (Suzhou River) unfolds against the Sino-Japanese conflict of the 1920s and '30s. The story of romance and espionage recalls Hitchcock's wartime thrillers; the violent, chaotic set pieces, with their kinetic handheld camera and rapid cutting, evoke contemporary news coverage of terrorist crises. Zhang Ziyi (House of Flying Daggers) stars as a young woman in Manchuria whose romance with a visiting Japanese student (Toru Nakamura) is interrupted when he returns home and her brother, a political journalist, is killed by a Japanese assassin. Radicalized, she joins an anti-Japanese resistance group, and years later, when her old flame arrives in Shanghai as an intelligence agent for the Japanese government, she's ordered to get close to him again. A subplot in which another young couple is swept into the violence only adds to the puzzle box of deadly vendettas, until Ye concludes with a daring flashback that seals the heroine's fate. In Mandarin, Japanese, and Vietnamese with subtitles. 127 min. Gene Siskel Film Center.

Find out how you can help

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by J.R. Jones

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories

Follow Us

Sign up for newsletters »

 Early Warnings
 Food & Drink
 Reader Recommends
 Reader Events and Offers
The Standard For The Kilogram May Be Losing Weight