Legend of Demon Cat (妖猫传) dir. Chen Kaige (陈凯歌). 2017.
Legend of Demon Cat is set over a thousand years ago during the Tang Dynasty. A Chinese poet and a Japanese monk join forces to investigate a demonic cat who has possessed a general’s wife and wreaked havoc on the imperial court. The investigation takes gruesome and unexpected twists, resulting in the monk and the poet unraveling the mystery behind the death decades earlier of legendary, beautiful concubine Yang Guifei
Based on the novel Samana Kukai written by Japanese writer Yoneyama Mineo, this film is fifth generation director Chen Kaige’s latest work in the fantasy mystery genre. A lavish set that costed US$200 million and five years to create was constructed for the film. It was reported that the set will be turned into a theme park.
The director’s passion for telling the story of the forward-thinking Tang dynasty is understandable at a time when the world has run amok. “I’ve felt very bad that traditional culture, including Confucianism, has completely been abandoned in China,” says Chen, a self-proclaimed Buddhist. “The lifestyle of the old cities has gone, unfortunately.”