The Banquet
Original Title: 夜宴
Directed by: Feng Xiaogang
Written by: Sheng Heyu, Qiu Gangjian
Cinematography: Zhang Li, Xie Ze
Music by: Tan Dun
Country: China, Hong Kong
Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Action, History
Duration: 131 min
Release Dates: 30 Aug. 2006 (China), 3 Sept. (Venice), 15 Sept. (TIFF)
Filming Dates: September 2005 – 29 January 2006
Filming Locations: China (Xinjiang, Hangzhou, Jiangsu)

Synopsis:
In 907 AD, the Tang Dynasty is in tatters; infighting snarls the imperial family. Crown Prince Wu Luan loves Little Wan, but his father takes her as his Empress. Wu Luan goes into exile, studying dance and music. His uncle murders his father, taking throne and Empress; uncle sends assassins to kill Wu Luan. The Crown Prince eludes death and comes to court. The Emperor arranges for Little Wan’s coronation and dispatches Wu Luan to a distant land; he then calls for a midnight banquet on the 100th day of his rule. Poison, treachery, Wu Luan’s return, and the love of the innocent Qing for Wu Luan set up the final entanglements. No Fortinbras or Horatio lay the dead to rest. -IMDb

Casting

Zhang Ziyi
Empress Wan

Ge You
Emperor Li

Daniel Wu
Prince Wu Luan

Zhou Xun
Qing Nu

Ma Jingwu
Yin Taichang
Photos

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Trailers

2:43 min   |   10 views
1:42 min   |   7 views
2:41 min   |   7 views
1:23 min   |   7 views

Movie clips

Bonus

♦ Feng Xiaogang told reporters while promoting the movie that he loved working with Ziyi. “Before we worked together, I might have thought, ‘Oh, Zhang Ziyi, a big star, it won’t be easy to work with her, but when the work got underway, I asked her to shave her eyebrows. She did it. During filming, she was very thoughtful. When she saw people in cinematography and the art department were working hard, she’d make soup and bring it to them,” Feng recalled. “Our collaboration was especially happy,” he said. Feng said Zhang was sad when she had to leave “The Banquet” to promote the film “Memoirs of a Geisha” in the U.S., and had been eager to get back to the set. –China Daily
♦ The film is a loose adaption of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet and Henrik Ibsen’s play Ghosts, featuring themes of revenge and fate.
♦ A three-minute preview was shown at the Berlin Film Festival. Parts of the film had been also previewed by film buyers during the 2006 Cannes Film Festival in May, where a promotional event for the film was hosted.
♦ At 180 meters long and 60 meters wide, the set for the Emperor’s Palace is the largest set ever built in China.
♦ Gong Li was originally supposed to play Zhang Ziyi’s part. Due to scheduling conflicts, the role was passed onto Zhang Ziyi and she gladly accepted because she thought the character was so interesting.
♦ Both Gong Li and Maggie Cheung were originally considered playing the queen’s role. When Ziyi Zhang took over the part, the script was rewritten to make the character younger.
♦ The Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong announced on 28 Sept 2006 that this would be Hong Kong’s entry to the 79th Oscar’s Best Foreign Film category. —IMDb

Awards and Nominations
Ceremony Category Recipient Result
2006 Venice Film Festival Future Film Festival Digital Award Feng Xiaogang Won
2006 Bangkok World Film Festival Special Jury Prize Won
2006 Golden Horse Film Festival Best Cinematography Li Zhang Nominated
Best Art Direction Timmy Yip Won
Best Makeup & Costume Design Timmy Yip Won
Best Original Film Score Tan Dun Nominated
Best Original Film Song Tan Dun Nominated
2006 Asia-Pacific Film Festival Best Cinematography Li Zhang Won
2007 Asian Film Awards Best Actress Zhang Ziyi Nominated
Best Production Designer Timmy Yip Won
2007 Hong Kong Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Zhou Xun Won
Best Art Direction Timmy Yip Nominated
Best Costume and Make Up Design Timmy Yip Nominated
Best Sound Design Danrong Wang Nominated
Best Visual Effects Yanming Jiang Nominated
Best Original Film Score Tan Dun Nominated
Best Original Film Song Tan Dun Nominated
2007 Golden Rooster Awards Best Supporting Actress Zhou Xun Nominated
Best Cinematography Li Zhang Nominated
Best Art Direction Timmy Yip Nominated
Best Sound Design Danrong Wang Nominated
2007 Golden Bauhinia Awards Best Supporting Actress Zhou Xun Won
Best Art Direction Timmy Yip Won
Best Cinematography Li Zhang Nominated
Best Editing Miaomiao Liu Nominated
Best Action Choreography Woo-ping Yuen Nominated
Best Original Score Tan Dun Nominated
Best Original Song Tan Dun Won
2007 Beijing Student Film Festival Best Actress Zhang Ziyi Nominated