The Promise (China 2005) - A Chen Kaige Film
aka Wu Ji, Mo Gik, Master of the Crimson Armor
you have accepted your destiny, nothing can alter it unless rivers
flow uphill, time runs backwards and the dead come back to life."
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
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
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
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