Wuxia film production stopped on the Chinese mainland after 1949. In the wuxia blockbusters, made again on the mainland post-2000 (of which Zhang Yimou’s Hero is most well-known), there’s often an emphasis on heroes compromising with the authorities, traditional chivalry having disappeared without a trace. The Swordsman in Double Flag Town stands unique among mainland wuxia films, and it is certainly no coincidence that it was produced right after the Tiananmen crackdown. The vast, desert quality of the landscape has more than a little of the American Western about it, and the dangerous duels in which a single stroke decides which participant will live or die brings to mind the atmosphere of a Japanese samurai film. The unique characters and minimal dialogue accompanying these suggest the cinematic style favoured by the Fifth Generation directors, while retaining the suspense and the drama of the wuxia genre.
Directed by Ping He | Starring : Wei Gao, Mana Zhao, Jiang Chang, Haiying Sun, Gang Wang | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Rotterdam Film Festival