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Sacrifice is a 2010 Chinese historical drama film directed by Chen Kaige. The film is based on the Yuan Dynasty play Orphan of Zhao.


Plot: 
The story is set in the Jin state during the Spring and Autumn Period of ancient China. The chancellor Zhao Dun and his son, general Zhao Shuo, have a rift with general Tu Angu. Tu secretly murders the duke with poison and pushes the blame to the Zhao family, using that as an excuse to massacre the entire Zhao clan of about 300 people. The only survivor is Zhao Shuo's baby son Zhao Wu, born to the duke's older sister Princess Zhuang. Zhuang pleads with Tu Angu's subordinate Han Jue to spare her child and commits suicide after entrusting Zhao Wu to the physician Cheng Ying, telling Cheng to bring the child to Gongsun Chujiu, a friend of the Zhao family. When Tu Angu learns that the orphan had escaped, he slashes his sword at Han Jue's face in anger, disfiguring him. Subsequently, Tu issues orders to seal the gates and to gather all newborn babies in the city. The ploy was to identify the Zhao orphan since Tu was counting on those hiding the baby(Cheng) to not hand him over; hence singling out the one baby left in the city to be the Zhao infant.

Cheng Ying brings the baby Zhao Wu home, but alas, his wife gives up the child to the searching soldiers, claiming Zhao Wu as her own son. Cheng then asks Gongsun Chujiu to bring his wife and son (disguised as Zhao Wu) out of the city, while he stays behind to try and retrieve his real son from Tu Angu. Tu finds Cheng suspicious and Cheng lies that the Zhao orphan has been taken out of the city by Gongsun. Tu then leads his soldiers to Gongsun's house and finds Cheng's wife and son. Mistaking Cheng's son as the Zhao orphan, Tu kills the infant, Gongsun and Cheng's wife.

Cheng is devastated by the loss of his family and he swears vengeance on Tu Angu. He brings Zhao Wu to Tu's house and raises the boy there. Tu misbelieves that Zhao Wu is Cheng's child and treats him like a son. Zhao Wu gradually grows up under Tu's tutelage and develops a father-son bond with Tu. Cheng Ying also forges a close friendship with the disfigured Han Jue and they secretly plot to help Zhao Wu avenge his family.

One day, Cheng Ying breaks the truth to Zhao Wu, telling him that Tu Angu, who has been a fatherly figure to him for the past 15 years, is actually the murderer of his family. Zhao is unable to accept the truth initially but his attitude changes as he hears from Han Jue about how Cheng Ying sacrificed his own son to save him. Zhao and Cheng finally confront Tu Angu, but Tu is aware of Zhao's true identity, as over the years, he has noticed that the boy resembles Zhao Shuo. Zhao Wu engages Tu Angu in a sword fight but is no match for Tu. At the critical moment, Cheng sacrifices himself to give Zhao an opportunity to stab and kill Tu. The film ends with the dying Cheng having a vision of his reunion with his family.

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Details

CastFengyi Zhang, You Ge, Xueqi Wang, Xiaoming Huang, Man Cheuk Chiu, Bingbing Fan, Hai-Qing, William Wang
DirectorKaige Chen
Genre:  Drama, History
Release Date:  18 December 2010 (China)
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More Sacrifice [赵氏孤儿] (2010 movie) reviews
review by . September 11, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
How Justified Can One Be To Exact Such Vengeance?
Acclaimed Chinese director Chen Kaige reached international fame with “Farewell My Concubine” and despite his somewhat misfire with “The Promise” (one of the most expensive Chinese films ever made), his talent still spoke volumes when it comes to weaving tales of tragedy with high art. “Sacrifice” is Kaige’s return to form. Successfully blending themes of honor, betrayal, irony and tragic revenge under some Shakespearean overtones and intense action.   …
review by . February 11, 2011
posted in ASIANatomy
The Physican & The Orphan
It’s a new movie (2010) but an ancient story akin to the birth of Christ. This one happened around Yuan Dynasty, where the chancellor (Zhao clan) and the general (Tu) who are somewhat not on good terms had one of them plotted to kill the other by first murdering the duke (supposedly the ruler then) and blaming that murder onto the Zhao family. The entire Zhao family was ultimately killed with a baby left to be saved by the physician Zheng (also acting in the role of bringing the baby to this …
review by . August 02, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         The premise of Sacrifice does not sit well with me, but then again, perhaps that was the intention. Taking place in ancient China, it tells the melodramatic story of a man who uses his adopted son as a means to seek restitution of the death of his biological son; on the basis of the movie’s emotional and fatalistic ending, it’s quite possible that the film was supposed to be broadly moralistic in much the same way as fairy tales or other …
Quick Tip by . August 24, 2012
posted in ASIANatomy
After his somewhat misfire "The Promise", director Chen Kaige returns to form with "Sacrifice". Somewhat Shakespearean in themes and then  becomes somewhat cerebral, the film takes off as it takes situations over scale.      Ge You comes out with an outstanding performance while Wang Xueqi is both detestable and sympathetic as T'uan. This is the kind of film whose characters and situations drive its story and what comes out is a truly engaging …
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