2 Best Movies to Watch by Zhou Xun

Staff & contributors

Once banned by Chinese censors, Suzhou River depicts love and obsession amidst the gritty, urban underbelly of Shanghai. As the film is portrayed through an anonymous videographer, seen only by his hands, it’s easy to fall in love as he does, with the mesmerizing Meimei (Zhou Xun), performing as a mermaid in a dive bar. However, he can’t seem to trust her, as she flits in and out of his life, with no clear notice. Likewise, the tragic romance told by motorcycle courier Mardar can’t be trusted, given that the river’s inhabitants warped it into folklore. Faces can’t even be trusted, especially with the double casting of actress Zhou Xun as Meimei and as innocent rich daughter Moudan. Because of these contrasts and its ambiguity, Suzhou River sweeps us into an alluring, mysterious tale, but reminds us not to get caught by the current.

Genre: Drama, Romance

Actor: Jia Hongsheng, Nai An, Yao Anlian, Zhou Xun

Director: Lou Ye

If you wanted to watch an epic historical drama about the three assassination attempts against the first emperor of China, 2002’s Hero is the better known, and better acclaimed, choice. Nevertheless, the drama that depicted this four years earlier, the Emperor and the Assassin, is a fairly decent watch, with nearly three hours to parse out Ying Zheng’s career with extravagant production design and excellent performances to marvel at. The film is also slightly more accurate, taking its characters from actual historical record. The Emperor and the Assassin may not be perfect– it’s aggressively sepia-tinged, and it does struggle to maintain the plot’s focus– but it depicts the history well, regardless.

Genre: Drama, History

Actor: Chen Kaige, Ding Haifeng, Gong Li, Li Hongtao, Li Qiang, Li Xuejian, Lü Xiaohe, Pan Changjiang, Sun Zhou, Wang Qian-Yuan, Zhang Fengyi, Zhao Benshan, Zhiwen Wang, Zhou Xun

Director: Chen Kaige

Rating: R