The Promise (China 2005) - A Chen Kaige Film
aka Wu Ji, Mo Gik, Master of the Crimson Armor


"Once you have accepted your destiny, nothing can alter it unless rivers flow uphill, time runs backwards and the dead come back to life."  - The Sorceress (Wu Ji)

Director :
Chen Kaige
Writer : Chen Kaige
Producer : Chen Kaige, Chen Hong
Cinematography : Peter Pau
Art Direction : Tim Yip
Action Director : Tung Wai, Dion Lam
Costume : Masago Kimiya
Cast : Jang Dong-Kun, Cecilia Cheung, Hiroyuki Sanada, Liu Ye, Nicholas Tse, Chen Hong, Cheng Qian

Synopsis :
An epic fantasy about a love triangle between a general, a princess and a slave in ancient China. Empowered by the love of a slave, a royal concubine is given the chance to make an extraordinary decision. Its an epic story about "promise, betrayal, nations and love".
Can Love Change Destiny?

About The Movie

As human beings, are we free to live out our lives according to our own desires, in accordance with our will, or are we merely powerless pawns in the hand of destiny? These are potent questions that in some way or another confront us all, sometimes in the most unexpected of ways. In a sense, I do believe that our fate is pre-determined. Yet paradoxically, I do not believe that this absolves us of our responsibility to try to alter it for the greater good, nor do I believe that fate has the final word. We might even say we are co-authors with fate of our destiny.

Oddly enough, fate seemed to play a hand in how I came to make Wuji-The Promise in the manner I did: from the creative partners with whom I collaborated, to the locations in which we shot, even down to some of the principal characters around whom the story is centered.

Of course, long before we began pre-production, I had conceptualized what the story would be: a beautiful Princess, a courageous Slave, an ambitious, charismatic Mighty General, an evil and cunning Duke, each propelled forward and entwined by vehement passions: greed, ambition, loyalty, revenge, the unremitting search for true love. Their dance with destiny would be choreographed not only by these powerful drives and desires, but also by promises and contracts made years before – each setting his or her own course for themselves earlier in life. Furthermore, I would set the story “3,000 years ago in the future, somewhere in Asia.” That was the essence of the film, the premise from which I started. Yet a series of synchronicitous events unfolded that shaped the film in distinct ways that I had not previously envisaged.

The role of the Slave is singularly important as so much of the story turns on his actions and his metamorphosis from an almost animal-like creature to a fully evolved, heroic human being. In this sense, he is the character who most seizes the opportunity to alter his fate and transcend his pre-destined existence – and the character in who I see a reflection of my own aspirations.

The film you “plan” to make is not the one which you shoot – the film will unfold as it will. Perhaps fate whispers stories to us in our dreams, in our subconscious, and we are compelled to tell them. And yet we do have an opportunity to shape them, to embellish them, to make them our own.

Page 2 : Director, Cast and Characters

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