Purple Butterfly (Zi hudie)
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Directed by Lou Ye, Zi Hudie revolves around the underground faction of anti-Nipponese fighters in 1930s Shanghai, just prior to the onset of the Sino-Japanese war. It's only the beginning when Cynthia (Zhang Ziyi), a young Chinese woman, learns the news of her lover Itami's (Toru Nakamura) rapidly approaching return to the military. In a second and even more devastating blow, Cynthia's brother, a contributor to an anti-Japanese newspaper, is killed by a Japanese activist. Three years later, switchboard operator Tang Yiling (Li Bingbing) and Situ (Liu Ye), her fiancÚ, are… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"At the center of it all is, of course, Zhang. Charismatic and intense, she excels in her most grown-up role to date."
‑ G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
"Hectic, lyrical, swooningly romantic and almost unwatchably brutal."
‑ Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly
"The plot may be a little hard to follow, but the film-making is skillful and any effort on the viewer's part is well worth it"
‑ Luke Y. Thompson, New Times
"A gorgeous period melodrama, packed with romantic tragedy and violent intrigue, it is both gritty and dreamy, political and personal."
‑ Bob Strauss, Los Angeles Daily News
"Give in to the mood piece and bathe in its glamorous nostalgic glow. It's a beauty."
‑ , E! Online
"There are two movies battling for supremacy in Butterfly, and both lose. As does the audience."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"The characters are less compelling than this particular slice of history, which has rarely been dramatized in movies."
‑ John Hartl, Seattle Times
"Just like nuclear energy, long cinematic pauses can be used properly for the benefit of all, while in the wrong hands they can cause mass misery."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"... rich with emotional turmoil and searing beauty, but it could have used a little more time in the editing room to make sense of it all."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"History is scant or purposefully blurred in Lou Ye's abstruse Purple Butterfly, a war drama with Wong-like delusions of love"
‑ Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
"As atmospheric and moody as a film noir, the stylish, sometimes perplexing Purple Butterfly is a remarkable period piece, evoking the bustling, dense and increasingly dangerous Shanghai of the '30s."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Mr. Lou synthesizes a wide range of styles and influences -- from Casablanca to Wong Kar-wai -- resulting in a movie that, for all its haunting strangeness, seems curiously familiar."
‑ A.O. Scott, New York Times
"An at times pretty but nonetheless forgettable film."
‑ Brent Simon, Now Playing Magazine
"The art of it is entirely in the atmospherics; the rest is melodrama. Its 127 minute exercise in puzzle solving is draining."
‑ Jules Brenner, Cinema Signals
"An extravagant, intriguing but ultimately very frustrating period piece."
‑ Jason Anderson, eye WEEKLY
More reviews for Purple Butterfly (Zi hudie) on Rotten Tomatoes