FAREWELL, MY CONCUBINE’s Director’s Next Movie: SACRIFICEAugust 24, 2012

FAREWELL, MY CONCUBINE’s Director’s Next Movie: SACRIFICE

Samuel Goldwyn

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: SACRIFICE (Samuel Goldwyn Films).

 

See the latest Independent Movie On Demand (IMOD) Trailers here...

 

SACRIFICE
By Amy Slotnick

 

Based on the Chinese opera Orphan of Zhao, the latest film from Chen Kaige (best know in the US for FAREWELL, MY CONCUBINE) is a Shakespearean-styled tragedy, in which the survival of a noble family and the devotion of a commoner have a historical effect.

 



Set in the Kingdom of Jun in 583 BC, SACRIFICE tells the story of Cheng Ying (Ge You), a doctor who is treating a woman, Zhuangji (Bingbing Fan), in the final days of her pregnancy. She is the King’s sister and married to a war hero of the noble Zhao clan. The child she births, if a boy, will one day be a leader of the kingdom. The Zhao clan is attacked during a coup led by one of the Zhao’s rivals, General Tu Angu (Wang Xueqi). As the Zhaos and their defenders are being massacred around the city, the noble woman gives birth prematurely with the help of the doctor.

Knowing her home is moments away from being attacked, she asks the doctor to secretly take her infant son to safety with a family ally. Soon after, she, and the rest of the Zhaos are killed, making this baby boy the family’s sole survivor.

 



The doctors own wife is home with their infant son. He manages to get the Zhao child to his home to be breast fed by his wife while he goes out to try and contact the Zhao ally (who has since been killed). Tu Angu discovers that Zhuangji was no longer pregnant when she died and has ordered that infants in all the homes be confiscated to determine which is the Zhao child.

In a complicated, and convoluted, mix-up, it is Cheng’s own son who is taken and believed to be the Zhao child. Cheng’s son and wife are killed, leaving Cheng with the true Zhao child, to raise him alone under a false identity.

 

The film briefly spans the child’s upbringing and settles when he is fifteen and ready to go off to war. He has developed a closeness with Tu and calls him Godfather, which Cheng encourages thinking that one day this will enable him to seek revenge. However, when the child sides with Tu over his father, Cheng’s sacrifice of his own child, kept secret for these fifteen years, seems to have been without meaning. Now that the boy is old enough, Cheng wants the truth revealed and for Tu to be avenged.

 



The film creates a great deal of suspense from this confusing story, so much so that the film, which is slightly over 2 hours, doesn’t feel as long. Chen Kaige is a master at making a historical drama with emotional, flawed characters, though some of the battle scenes feel pretty standard. The film had great success in China in 2010, and now is available here On Demand.
 

 

 

- Amy Slotnick

 

Amy
Amy Slotnick is a contributor to On Demand Weekly. She works as an independent producer and freelance consultant to film financing start-ups. Previously she was a Senior VP of Production at Miramax Films.

 

SACRIFICE (Samuel Goldwyn) is in your local cable movies on demand section.

 

Check out Amy's other reviews:

BURNING MAN   TRY IT

2 DAYS IN NEW YORK DEMAND IT

360 - DEMAND IT

FIRST POSITION - DEMAND IT

THE PERFECT FAMILY  TRY IT

A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN  TRY IT

PASSIONE TRY IT


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