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BEAUTY OF BEAUTIES (1965)

BEAUTY OF BEAUTIES (1965)

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Hsi Shih: The Beauty of Beauties was one of the most ambitious films made in the Taiwan film industry in the 1960s. After leaving The Shaw Brothers studio in Hong Kong and moving to Taiwan, filmmaker Li Han-hsiang mounted this historical epic. Told through the story of Xishi (Hsi Shih), one of the 'Four Great Beauties' of Chinese history, the film portrays the war between two Chinese Kingdoms during the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C). After the kingdom of Yue is defeated by the kingdom of Wu, King Goujian of Yue takes pains to prepare for his revenge and rebuild his country. Knowing that King Fucha of Wu is lewd and lustful, he offers Xisi to the court of Wu to serve as Fucha’s concubine, with Fucha unaware that she is also a spy. She uses her charm to draw Fucha away from his office and governance, while King Goujian rallies his forces together to attempt to reclaim his lands. The film was produced on a truly vast scale to bring this history to life in vivid colour. It swept the Golden Horse Awards in 1965 and is here presented in a version lovingly restored in 4K from its original Camera negative.

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