907 AD, China. The Tang Dynasty has crumbled, it is a time of treachery, power struggles, insugency and rebellion, a period known as 'the five dynasties and the ten kingdoms'. In what remains of the imperial family, Prince Wu Luan (Daniel Wu) has fallen in love with the maiden Little Wan (Zhang Ziyi), but the Emperor chooses to take Little Wan as his wife. Heart-broken, the young prince flees to the southern provinces, seeking refuge in the study of acting, music and dance.
Our story begins three years later. The Emperor's brother Li (Ge You) has poisoned the Emperor, seizing the throne and, the now, Empress Wan. Empress Wan sends a messenger to Wu Luan, informing him of his father's murder and urging his return, unaware that the new Emperor Li has also dispatched assassins to snuff out the threat posed by the Prince's return. Evading this threat, the Prince returns to the imperial palace, his heart set on avenging his father...
Zhang Ziyi, Ge You, Daniel Wu, Zhou Xun