Dragon Town Story

Wu Chien-lien dominates this 1997 costume drama, shot on location in northern China, about an ice maiden seeking revenge against the warlord who massacred her clan. Posing as a married couple, she and a hired assassin infiltrate the warlord’s lair and befriend his family, and director Yeung Fung-leung rises above plot machination to focus on the characters as they try to ferret out each other’s motives. He also matches their psychological states to the interior colors and cold, stony architecture, much as Zhang Yimou (the film’s executive producer) did in directing Raise the Red Lantern. Most of the actors tend toward melodrama, so the impassive Wu steals the show, her slightest expression conveying the maiden’s journey from anger to forgiveness. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, March 20, 6:00, and Sunday, March 21, 4:00, 312-443-3737.

–Ted Shen

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.