Cinema: The Emperor And The Assassin

STARRING: Gong Li, Zhang Fengyi, Li Xuejian DIRECTOR: Chen Kaige OPENS: Dec. 17 in N.Y.C.and L.A.; wide Jan. 21

In Hollywood these days, a spectacle is what some randy star makes of himself at 3 a.m. on Sunset Boulevard. American movies have lost the love of grandeur, of finding the heroic scale of historical figures. Chen Kaige to the rescue! China's longest-reigning angry young filmmaker has an eye for rapturous compositions on a huge and telling tapestry. His new film mixes DeMille and Dostoyevsky: the cast-of-thousands splendor of a biblical epic and the gnarled psychology of Chen's own Farewell My Concubine....

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