Shi Mian Mai Fu A Hit At Cannes!
Zhang Ziyi CSC
May 20, 2004

Yesterday, Wednesday, May 19, 2004 at 10:30 PM, Shi Mian Mai Fuʮ(literally, "Ambush From Ten Sides" or "No Way Out" - aka House of Flying Daggers, aka Lovers) held it's first screening to rave critical reviews at the 57th Annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. The non-competitive screening of director Zhang Yimou's second wuxia film, starring Zhang Ziyi, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro, has become an instant hit, further fueling its highly anticipated international release planned for later this year.

Reuters: "The eye-popping fight sequences in House of Flying Daggers, including one set in a bamboo forest, were greeted with gasps of astonishment and applause by critics at the renowned movie showcase."

MSNBC: "Critics lapped up the movie, set in the ninth century Tang Dynasty, in which two police captains are assigned to seek out the leader of the 'House of Flying Daggers' rebel group."

Variety: "The tangled tale of love and disguise is awesome in its action sequences."

Screen International: "Beyond a doubt, the most visually ravishing film on offer at Cannes is Zhang Yimous return to the sword-fighting genre."

Zhang Yimou, following the screening: "Martial arts films are full of possibilities and I wanted to exploit them to the full. Every director in China is interested in kung fu films. Martial arts are an extremely interesting genre as you find a mixture of action and emotion. For each director, this is a challenge."

Officially released synopsis:

House of Flying Daggers is set in the year is 859AD as China's once flourishing Tang Dynasty is in decline. Unrest is raging throughout the land, and the corrupt government is locked in battle with rebel armies that are forming in protest. The largest, and most prestigious of these is the "House of Flying Daggers", which is growing ever more powerful under a mysterious new leader.

Two local captains, Leo (Lau) and Jin (Kaneshiro) are ordered to capture the new leader and the two hatch an elaborate plan. Captain Jin will pretend to be a lone warrior called Wind and rescue the beautiful, blind revolutionary Mei (Ziyi), from prison, earning her trust and escorting her to the secret headquarters of the House of Flying Daggers. The plan works, but to their surprise, Jin and Mei fall deeply in love on their long journey to the House.

Danger lurks in the forest surrounding them, and the wind is still, as if sensing the tension in the air. What lies ahead for Jin and Mei, these star-crossed lovers? If this is true love, then why are there plots in their heads, and secrets in their hearts?


As was reported last month, Columbia Pictures has purchased the North American distribution rights to Shi Mian Mai Fu. The film will presumably be distributed through Columbia Pictures' Sony Pictures Classics, the distributor of other succesfully marketed films worldwide, including The Road Home and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon among others.

Shi Mian Mai Fu will have it's grand premiere at Worker's Stadium in Beijing, China on July 10, 2004, followed by a nationwide release in China on July 16, 2004.