Film Worksheet #4: House of Flying Daggers
(Handout) Written Assignment - See Course Plan for relevant deadlines

Juanita Student
FA 125, Prof. C. Agatucci
Film Worksheet #4:
House of Flying Daggers
12 May 2010


House of Flying Daggers [Chinese/Mandarin: Shi mian mai fu].  Dir. Zhang Yimou. Perf. Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, Ziyi Zhang. Beijing New Picture Film Co., China Film Co-Production Corp., EDKO Film, Eliot Group Ent., Zhang Yimou Studio, 2004. Sony Pictures Classics, 2005. DVD.

Film Worksheet #4: House of Flying Daggers

Part A. READING ASSIGNMENTRead some film reviews or commentaries on House of Flying Daggers/Shi Mian Mai Fu, on director Zhang Yimou (AKA Yimou Zhang), and/or on related topics (see Introduction: House of Flying Daggers/Shi Mian Mai Fu handout for some possibilities). 
1.  Describe three or four valuable points you learned from these reviews/commentaries AND identify the source/s you consulted*
CITING SOURCE/S:  Cite your Part A sources using MLA style models Cora has provided in On Filmography & MLA-Style Citation and film Introduction handouts.  You also need to indicate in-text of Part A which points came from which source. 

Part B. YOUR FILM VIEWING IMPRESSIONS:  Respond to FOUR of the following topics:
2. Censorship: After reading Introduction: House of Flying Daggers/Shi Mian Mai Fu handout, explain your views on censorship of art (film and other artistic media) and comment on how you think it might affect a film artist like Zhang Yimou.
3. Martial Arts Action / Choreography (Look up choreography if you don't know what it means):  Identify & comment on two scenes featuring martial arts action / choreography that you felt were particularly effective. Does the "improbable" "fantasy" element of these scenes detract from your enjoyment? And/or comment on whether you agree with Ebert that
House of Flying Daggers "is so good to look at and listen to that, as with some operas, the story is almost beside the point, serving primarily to get us from one spectacular scene to another."
4. Color  - and Sound: From his earliest films as a cinematographer to his most recent films as director, Zhang Yimou's films are striking for their striking use of color; Zhang is also quite careful about soundscapes and musical scores used in films he directs. Identify and comment on scenes in the film which the colors used seem particularly striking/signficant.  And/or comment on striking sound effects/musical score used in these/other scenes.
.  Character Analysis / Relationships: Analyze the three main characters Mei, Jin, and Leo, explain the love triangle, and comment on the impact of their shifting identities, feelings, loyalties. 
6. Plot Twists & Intrigue: Identify some of the major twists and intrigues driving the film's plot/storyline, and explain your reactions to/interpretations of them. Recommended: consider . . . Oops! Cora did not finish, but what Cora had intended to recommend relevant to Topic #6 is the following source:

Lee, Hwanhee. "House of Flying Daggers: A Reappraisal."  Senses of Cinema [Issue 35] Apr-Jun 2005. Web. 4 May 2010.  <>.

7. Setting as MIrror of Character:  As noted in Introduction: House of Flying Daggers/Shi Mian Mai Fu handout, film critic Jamie Russell believes believes that director "Zhang Yimou uses the landscape [of different settings] as a mirror of his characters' predicaments," intentions, and feelings. Identify and comment on a couple of striking settings that seem to reflect the characters' situations, feelings, and/or intentions.
. Ending:  Explain what you think happens in, and your reactions to, the film's ending
9. Themes & Significance. Offer your interpretation of the theme/s or message/s of the film.  
10. Comparison/Contrast - House of Flying Daggers & previous FA 125 films : Compare/contrast significant similarities and/or significant differences between House of Flying Daggers and one or more the previous films we've studied so far.

Part C: QUESTIONS/COMMENTSPose at least one thought-provoking discussion question and/or comment on one additional topic (not already addressed above) to enliven our upcoming seminar on House of Flying Daggers.

See also Introduction: House of Flying Daggers

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Last updated: 11 May 2010

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