House of Flying Daggers (十面埋伏) dir. Zhang Yimou. 2004.
Set during the decline of the Tang Dynasty, wuxia romance film House of Flying Daggers tells the story of police officers and best friends Leo (played by Andy Lau) and Jin (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who are tasked with murdering the leader of a prominent rebel group who battles the corrupt and oppressive Tang government. Jin comes up with the plan of kidnapping the alleged daughter of the leader named Mei (Zhang Ziyi), a blind dancer whom Jin falls in love with. His plan rapidly unravels as Mei’s true identity and relationships are revealed, forming a complex web of desires between Mei, Jin, and Leo. Zhang Yimou was inspired to direct the film after reading a poem by Han dynasty poet and court musician Li Yannian (李延年) about a woman so beautiful she brings destruction to city and nation.
“In the north, there is a beautiful person; surpassing the world, she stands alone.
A glance from her will overturn a city, another glance overturns a country.
One would rather not learn of whether it is city or country that is overthrown.
It is difficult to come by such beauty.”