Purple Butterfly

Original Title: 紫蝴蝶
Directed by: Lou Ye
Written by: Lou Ye, Wang Wei, Zhu Yongde
Cinematography: Wang Yu
Music by: Jörg Lemberg
Country: China, France
Genres: Drama, History, War
Duration: 127 min
Release Dates: 22 May 2003 (Cannes), 12 Sept. 2003 (TIFF)
Filming Dates: 7 June 2002 – 19 August 2002
Filming Locations: China (Shanghai)

In 1930s Shanghai, a man gets involved in a Japanese agent’s plot to trap Chinese resistance fighters. Ding Hui is a member of Purple Butterfly, a powerful resistance group in Japanese occupied Shanghai. An unexpected encounter reunites her with Itami, an ex-lover… and officer with a secret police unit tasked with dismantling Purple Butterfly. -IMDb


Zhang Ziyi
Cynthia / Ding Hui

Liu Ye

Feng Yuanzheng
Xie Ming

Tôru Nakamura
Hidehiko Itami

Li Bingbing
Tang Yiling

Production stills


More pictures



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Movie clips

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• During the filming, the actors weren’t wearing makeup, even Ziyi and Li Bingbing.
• Lou Ye wanted the actors to improvise during filming to follow their own feelings.

Awards and Nominations

4th China Film Media Awards
Best Actress (2004)

Nomination: 4th China Film Media Awards (Favorite Actress)

Ceremony Category Recipient Result
2003 Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm Lou Ye Nominated
2003 Toronto Film Festival Best Film (Discovery Award) Lou Ye Nominated
2004 Chinese Film Media Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Director Lou Ye Nominated
Best Actor Liu Ye Nominated
Best Actress Zhang Ziyi Won
Best Supporting Actor Feng Yuanzheng Nominated
Most Popular Actor Liu Ye Won
Most Popular Actress Zhang Ziyi Nominated