The early history of a nation unfolds through the actions of three heroes — Liu Bang, Xiang Yu and Han Xin — who chased their dreams of uniting a warring nation and fought through major milestones of the Chu-Han Contention years in the third century. From the Julu War to the Hongmen Banquet, the Gaixia War to the death of HanXin, the narration of Liu Bang — who would be the founding emperor of the new Han Dynasty — sets the stage for a tale of betrayal and brothers at war, where the last man standing inherits a nation.
Lu Chuan (born 1970) is a Chinese filmmaker and screenwriter. He is the son of the novelist, Lu Tianming.
Educated at the People’s Liberation Army International Relations University in Nanjing, Lu spent two years serving in the Army as a secretary to a general. After his time in the army, Lu attended the Beijing Film Academy for a masters degree in directing. While there, he studied the works of his favorite directors including Ingmar Bergman, Jim Jarmusch, and Pier Paolo Pasolini. His dissertation was on the American filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola.
Hailed as a major new voice in Chinese cinema, Lu’s first two films were small-budget productions which garnered both Chinese and international acclaim: 2002’s The Missing Gun and 2004’s Kekexili: Mountain Patrol. Kekexili won both a Golden Rooster and a Golden Horse best picture award.
Lu’s most recent film, the war drama City of Life and Death, was released in April 2009 to both critical and commercial success. At… read more
In the past ten years, international audiences have been inundated with dozens of high-minded Chinese historical epics, to the point where a sense of viewer fatigue has settled in. But chances are you've never seen one photographed quite like Lu Chuan's "The Last Supper." Chuan's style here edges closer to Terrence Malick than John Woo: expect wistful voice-overs and lonely figures tearing through golden fields at magic hour. Chuan has a habit of skipping over the 'big' moments that would be climactic setpieces in the hands of any other director, but Chuan isn't interested in staging protracted battle sequences. As a filmmaker, he finds his meaning in the quiet moments that precede or follow such a conflict: a wife's trembling hands as she helps her husband put on his body armor, the utter desolation of a battlefield strewn with human bodies.
I saw this in China without English subtitles, yet I was completely captivated from beginning to end by the physical weight and texture Lu brought to the environment (something so rare in Chinese historical epics nowadays). Be sure to check out Lu's "Nanjing! Nanjing!" (aka "City of Life and Death") if you haven't already; it's his masterpiece.
Notes on two big budgeted Chinese films: a _wuxia_’s new tricks from old fiction, and a critical mainstream film by Lu Chuan.
Followups to The Housemaid and City of Life and Death.