Spy vs Spy vs Innocent Guy. The long takes let the emotions breathe and the purple tint adds a beautiful melancholy. The climactic dance floor scene was gorgeous but that's where I would've ended the film rather than the flashback lovemaking scene and the newsreel footage. With tragic newsreel, one risks the fiction you've conjured up floating away into thin air. See: "Rambo" from 2008 or "The Childhood Of A Leader".
It has many flaws. Fast paced, continuous cuts, a bland dramatisation, insistent citationism and a lack of focus. I found difficult to emphasise with characters and sceneries, or to make any sense of the plot. The tragic historical events of Japanese occupation of China appear to be a mere background and a pretest for a plot that never takes off.
dead bodies soaked with rain. often visually soft and dim, paralleling the fuzzy chronology of the film. the characters are developed through their pain and nothing else. i'm hopeful it would improve on a second viewing, allowing more focus on the connections and emotions rather than trying to piece together the timeline.
I've been living in Beijing and digging through mainland cinema. Lou Ye fills a space. He's like Jarmusch. If you want that style--if you want to feel a part of that winking New Wave lineage--he satiates. The camera moves in well-punctuated, nested sentences. He shuffles time enough to make you feel clever. Hey, I enjoy it. But in all the silent, desperate glances, I'm feelin the ego a little more than the magic.
The minimal dialogue and mix of time and place made this a very difficult story to follow. (It probably would have been easier too watching on the big screen with zero distractions.) Nevertheless I found it visually stunning and stayed with it to the end. I think a second viewing would probably make the plot more comprehensible to me.
A thoroughly riveting film that provides a welcome insight to the invasion by Japan of China prior to WW2. Told from the perspective of a young lady who first falls in love with a visitor from Japan and then joins the resistance leading to some personal turmoil in parallel with the war. Minimal dialogue, an excellent soundtrack and superb cinematography leaves lots of space for emotional attachment in this fine film.
While it can at times be confusing due to the mosaic pattern, and Lou's style might not be for everyone, this is a truly stunning movie with some of the most beautiful scenes I have ever seen. The story of love and revolution is engaging, in large part due to the excellent acting performances and the fascinating characters. The soundtrack is also great, and helps the overall beauty of the movie.
If a film is going to show a tangled web of relationships resolve itself, through violence or otherwise, it needs to spend some time showing us those tangles. Unfortunately Lou Ye focused more on making it rain. So much so that it became a distraction about two-thirds of the way through. I understand that noir implies most if not all scenes are dark, but the rain is overkill. The film is a beautifully shot mess.
It is the year 1936, Cannabis Prohibition would be invented out of the whole cloth by Harry J. Anslinger, Jr. - traitor to the world. Purple Butterfly , set in that era where nerds could .. just sit and watch ... a 1920s era hand operated switchboard... It makes you wonder what it means to be human. Especially the nexus 6. As if, ships on fire burning in the darkness near tannheuser gate.... like tears..in ..rain..
Scenes edited with an almost feverish kinectism juxtaposed with long linger shots where the camera seems to be trying to peer beneath the facade of face and see the turmoil hidden behind. Compelling story. Impeccable performances. Breathtaking cinematography.
Noirish espionage tale, set in China just prior to and during the Japanese invasion. It was a bit hard to follow at first, but after 20 minutes or so, it began to make sense. The cinematography was excellent. I particularly liked the ballroom scene, mentioned by other reviewers, and the haunting music that plays as it unfolds. Bleak.
Purple Butterly mines a popular subject in the Chinese consciousness, Japanese wartime aggression. Although the film is wonderfully filmed and adequately acted, it is ultimately underwhelming. It is essentially a reimagining of the late years of China's “Century of Humiliation” crafted to create a sense national pride. Its resistance group is invented and ultimately not compelling, a lot like the film's trite romance
The handheld camera, editing, and sound design combine to lend a dreamlike aura to this wartime romance. This is most effective when Lou turns his focus away from the plot and allows us to linger in sensual nostalgia. The climactic condemnation of political violence is grimly rewarding, but the plot generally proves to be less interesting than the film's aesthetics.
Unfortunately convoluted, yes; but a moody, stylish, impeccably crafted film otherwise -- the angsty lovechild of John Woo and Wong Kar-wai, even more so than "My Heart is That Eternal Rose." It's got the former's operatic action, heightened intensity and free-flowing grace as well as the latter's patience, ensemble staging, candid romance and visual pizzazz. Worth watching.