Thursday, July 12, 2012
Reel People: Chow Yun-Fat is Cao Cao
Cao Cao was born in 155 in the Chinese city presently known as Bozhou, in the province of Anhui.
Born during the Han dynasty, Cao Cao's father (Cao Song) was in the foster child of one of the Emperor Huan's favorite eunuchs, Cao Teng.
Cao Cao was known for being crafty and early on a controlling leader. Appointed a district captain of Louyang at 20, he created strict rules for those who violated curfew, and quickly moved up in court until he was displaced after Empress Song was disgraced and falsely accused of witchcraft against Emporer Ling by the powerful eunuchs and concubines.Two years after the Empress Song events (180 AD) Cao Cao became a consultant at court and strongly criticized the power of the eunuchs.
In 184 during the Yellow Turbain Rebellion, Cao Cao was made Captain of the Calvary, was charged with suppressing the rebel movement, successful, but often offensive in area communities for his military dominence he retired in 187 to keep his family safe.
He would return a year and half later and was appointed to a military post under Emporer Ling, and then Empress Dowager He.
When Emporer Xian was placed on the thrown in 189 with general Dong Zhuo in power, Cao Cao rejected the appointment and left to build his own army in present day Kaifang.
In 192 China fell into a civil war when Lu Bu killed Dong Zhuo, which allowed Cao Cao to extend his army and expand military endeavors includes the 193 massacure of thousands of civilians in Xu Province.
In 196 Cao Cao joined with Emporor Xian, and became the commander-in-chief. Cao Cao held great authority, including convincing the Emporor to change the location of the capital due to the civil wars.
Cao Cao tacticly sacrificed his position as Commander-in-Chief to the powerful northern warlord Yuan Shao, only to result in the Battle of Guandu in 200, where Cao Cao would be the victor, and allow for the unification of Northern China.
The divided China continued through Cao Cao's life time, with the Three Kingdom's of China beginning to form with powerful warlords Liu Bei and Sun Quan rivals to Cao Cao.
Cao Cao would become the Duke of Wei (213), and later the King of Wei (216), with northern territories under his control, and the three kingdom's growing stronger.
In 220 Cao Cao died, and his son Cao Pi took over Cao Cao's post and forced the emporeror to abdicate his reign as emperor, and hand it over to Cao Pi. This ended the Han dynasty and effectively began the Three Kingdom's period in Chinese history.
The film takes place in the later years of Cao Cao's life at the time when a bronze sparrow platform was constructed to show his power and he was training up Mu Shun and Lingju to be assassins. In addition to Chow Yun-Fat playing Cao Cao, the two young assassins (and lovers) are portrayed by Yifei Liu and Hiroshi Tamaki. The film also features Alec Su as Emporor Xian, and China's Got Talent judge Annie Yi as Empress Fu Shou, his first wife.
As a reflective warlord in anchient China, will Chow Yun-Fat receive his first acting nomination for portraying this Real (Reel) Person?