It Began In a House of Flying Daggers

A while back, a girlfriend of mine was good enough to introduce me to a foreign film and martial arts beauty, House of Flying Daggers. I’ll admit, when I rented the film I was solely interested in studying the fighting techniques and had little interest in following the movie. If I’m required to read a translation for two hours the film loses something for me. I find myself focusing too much on the words and missing too many of the visuals. i.e. Body language, subtle gestures, etc. Lucky for me this film had a translated version.  Okay, I see all you purist out there shaking your heads. What can I say, that’s who I am.

So the night came when I popped in the film and went about my usual multi-tasking, waiting for the fight scenes to come along. Uh, yeah. It wasn’t long before I was seated, transfixed on the sofa, all my attention focused on the film. I was hooked. I can’t tell you how long ago I rented the movie. It’s a good think Netflix doesn’t charge late fees. It was a LONG time ago, but it’s still sitting here on my desk. I don’t want to return it. That’s the sign of a movie we will eventually own.

I fell in love with House of Flying Daggers that night. I am such a visual person and the film definitely has that going for it and more. Right from the very start it’s highly visual. The scene seen here takes place right near the beginning and is a show stopper, wouldn’t you agree? I have trouble tearing my eyes from it.

Okay, so you have to keep an open mind and allow the filmmaker’s room under the header of artistic license. Obviously the seeds would never fly across the room the way they did, but you must agree it’s beautifully choreographed. Prior to this point it has been established that our heroine, Mei, is blind. Did you take notice of her unusual eye placement?

The film was China’s official choice for the 2004 Oscar Awards and features a storyline about two police officers, Leo and Jin, that devise a plan to trick Mei into revealing her connection to, and the location of, a secret organization  opposing the government known as the House of the Flying Daggers. While Leo arrests Mei, Jin breaks her out and attempts to gain her trust. Of course, things are never as they seem.

You may be drawn in by a number of things. An interesting love angle (I don’t want to give anything away, however you may find yourself rooting for a side). An unexpected conflict development. And my favorite, a strong female lead who would “check off” yes to many of the attributes people listed on Marcy Kennedy’s fabulous post What do we mean by “Strong Female Characters?  I love a strong female, don’t you?

This movie is only eight years old and appears to have made an impression on a few highly influential people. Consider a more recent blockbuster, sure the setting was cast in the book, but the angle in which our couple lie, the look of the scene, etc. I’ll let you be the judge.

Wait for it… wait for it… okay, you don’t have to wait long. It’s only 10 seconds into the video. Count it, one… two… three…… ten. Okay, you can stop watching. Did you catch it? Heads up, if you watch the whole video – HUGE spoiler. Sigh. Can you tell me which film that reminds you of? Uh, duh. Twilight.

But this film didn’t just inspire great romantic scenes, how about this one? Even if you haven’t seen the movie, there’s no denying the footage.When a film inspires, does it tend to get emulated in other films time and time again? Do you do this when you write? Have you found yourself borrowing ideas from other books? Inquiring minds would like to know.


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37 thoughts on “It Began In a House of Flying Daggers”

  1. Marcy and LisaMarcy and Lisa

    Love that movie. I don’t mind subtitles if the story is well written. Isn’t imitation supposed to be the highest form of compliment…or something like that lol

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      That’s what I’ve always heard, Marcy. I’m always telling my children that when they start crying the whole, “so-and-so’s copying me, mom.” LOL Where subtitles are concerned I’m sure you read faster than I do, and I even took speed reading. Haha

      • Marcy KennedyMarcy Kennedy

        That one was actually Lisa 😉 I’m with you on preferring a translated version to one with subtitles. Maybe it’s awful, but if I want to read, I’ll read a book. I don’t want to have to read when I watch a movie. I haven’t seen this movie, but my husband and I recently got Netflix so I’ll have to check it out.

        Thanks for the shout out to my post 🙂

        • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

          DOH! I can never tell which one of you it is under the “Girls” avatar. 🙁 Sorry, Lisa. I’m with you, Marcy. I want to sit back and relax during my movie. Not stress over reading the subtitles before they disappear. I think you and the hubby will enjoy this movie. There is plenty of action to hold his interest. You are very welcome for the shout out. I fell behind this week with te vacation. So many posts I still want to read.

  2. susielindaususielindau

    Looks like a great movie. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Stephen T. Harper (@S_T_Harper)Stephen T. Harper (@S_T_Harper)

    I had the same reaction to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” a couple years before. Incredible. You’ve seen that one right?

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Oh, yes. I saw that one on the big screen. Great movie! Thanks for stopping by, Stephen.

  4. Karen RoughtKaren Rought

    That was…AWESOME. I only watched the first video. I didn’t want to be spoiled *too* much. I was definitely going to see this after you mentioned it to me a week or two ago, but now I’m pumped! Oh, and I was wondering about her strange eye placement. That’s really interesting that she’s blind!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Smart move. That’s why I posted “Spoiler” alerts. I thought you might watch the movie. I have friends that love the spoilers, go looking for them. I didn’t take you for one of them. I don’t like to know beforehand either.

  5. Tameri EthertonTameri Etherton

    I saw this when it first came out and, like you, was transfixed by it. The visuals are amazing. I think I need to rent it again because I’d forgotten much of the story, but those trailers are too enticing.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Lucky you! What a fantastic movie to see on the big screen. Did you remember the season change at the end? Completely unplanned. The weather changed unexpectedly and they decided to go with it, use it. It turned into visual art.

  6. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    Looks good. I’m amazed that you have time for movies. wow. you are definitely way more organized than I am.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I don’t have a lot of time for movies, but I try to make the time with the husband. Movies are his deal and they’re how we met. If it’s something he’s not interested in I am usually multi-tasking while I watch unless it’s a blockbuster that takes me to the theater. Movies are a great source of inspiration. Thanks for stopping by, Louise.

      • Louise BehielLouise Behiel

        how nice that you continue to do something that brought you together. cool.

        • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

          Oh yes, the stories we could tell of working in a dinky theater in a less desirable part of town. LOL I think my friend wants to write a book about it. You would be surprised.

  7. CelineCeline

    Loved this movie (and the genre) and “Crouching Tiger…” too!! Have you seen “Hero?”

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I have not seen “Hero,” but it just made it to the top of my Netflix queue! Thanks, Celine! I watched the extended trailer and it looks amazing! Thank you for stopping in and commenting! 🙂

  8. CelineCeline

    P.S. @ Tameri E.: I remember the movie quite well and the cinematography is most definitely AMAZING!

  9. August McLaughlinAugust McLaughlin

    Don’t you just love those movies that find special, often permanent, places in our hearts? I’ll have to check this one out. 🙂 I’m definitely inspired by movies and other art. I don’t copy or borrow ideas, that I’m aware of, but I often have epiphanies. Something in the film triggers an idea flame in my brain or shows me puzzle pieces I’ve been missing.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I think that’s what happens to me. I go out of my way to make sure I’m not copying. Although, I might find I’ve done something similar to another, but was never aware of their work at the time. That has happened to me. I’ve heard it said there are original ideas anymore. We are all just recycling everything. Could it be so?

  10. rabiagalerabiagale

    My husband and I really admire Yimou Zhang’s historical films. He has such a great eye for color and cinematography. Have you seen Hero? I highly recommend it. Here’s a trailer for it on YouTube:

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      We were just talking about this film! I haven’t seen it, but have pushed it to the top of my Netflix queue. Thank you!

  11. darkjade68darkjade68

    It’s a Great Flick I actually Own it


    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Awesome! I think I may within a few weeks. It’s only a matter of getting my body to the right store. 😀

  12. mj monaghanmj monaghan

    Fantastic post, Debra. Saw this several years ago and absolutely loved it! I think I must see it again. Loved your writing.

    I don’t believe I copy in my writing. I find inspiration from other forms of expression that triggers me to take things in a different direction, though.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Ah, thank you, MJ! Thanks for coming by when I’ve been on the run with the kids all week. Spring break and all. 😀 Triggers are a fabulous thing. I love them, when they are working. Lately I have had too many stories talking to me and I need to keep my focus. Ugh!

  13. jansenschmidtjansenschmidt

    Beautiful video clips. Movie looks interesting.

    And all that dancing without even tilting the crown on her head. That’s talent.

    Patricia Rickode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Isn’t she amazing? She is a professional dancer. Couldn’t tell, could you? LOL She’s not a fighter, but for these kind of movies she incorporates her dance moves into the fighting techniques to sell them. Beautifully done. Thanks for your continued support. 🙂

  14. alicamckennajohnsonalicamckennajohnson

    Have you seen Hero or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? They are also visually stunning. And yes a steal- um am inspire by lots of movies- I adore foreign films! But subtitles for me no dubbing!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      🙂 We were just talking about that. I included the trailer for Hero in the comments. I added that to my Netflix queue. I saw Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon in the theater. You see, if I was reading all the subtitles I’d miss half of all the cool stuff going on. 🙁 I don’t like it.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      I have Hero at the top of my Netflix queue! We are sooo slow at moving through our Netflix. LOL Need to return some of those kid movies. Love Flying Daggers. Need to buy it so that I can return it and get a new movie from Netflix. Haha Thanks for stopping by Daniel!

  1. House of Flying Daggers (2004) – IMDb « Netflowers

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