Although I managed to understand the plot of this film I did find it a struggle to keep up with, due to my lack of interest in it. I believe the theme running throughout the film, on female oppression in China, is one that could have been delivered more successfully.
As I began to watch the film I was immediately unsure if I were going to enjoy it, starting with quite ominous cliche techniques. The introductory music, opening scene of a woman crying in the rain and the colours were all dull, but not done to the same effect as the depressing washed out colours in “Confessions”, which added drama to the story.
What I did enjoy was the fact that there were a mixture of conventions from the martial arts films as well as having dramatised scenes. If it were not for the occasional action scene I would have found the film to drag out and move at a slower pace as I do not think the scenes in between were strong enough to carry the film alone. Also the plot was interesting, a woman who expressed strong feministic views from an early age being raised in a oppressive environment, giving her the motivation to help lead a revolution.
I did enjoy the main character of the film Qiu Jin, who was quite a strong character and I thought the actress delivered a good performance. She was able to pull off a character with a strong presence that was highly determined, I also thought the choice of clothing she was in towards the end of the film (a trousered suit) was clever as it seemed to represent that equality towards man. It also did not blend into the culture, meaning she stood out and was like she had rejected her cultural background.
The choice of weaponry they used in the film is something that slightly baffles me. There was a mixture of swords and guns being used on both sides of the revolution, which I am sure there is a valid reason as to why that is but I can only guess as to the reason. From my experiences of martial arts films guns are not a usual weapon to appear, not that I class this film as martial arts but it does have that feel to it at times. Perhaps its a metaphor, there is a slight advancement in the weaponry they have with the guns but are still being held back by the old fashioned sword, just like their society is being held back by their old traditions and values of a womans position in their culture. I think it was hinted at that the societies progress is being stunted by the government by the comparison with the Japanese culture, which treat there woman as equals by giving them an education.
Overall I can appreciate the issues and themes raised in this film but feel like it had been poorly delivered in places.