The Woman Knight of Mirror Lake is an East Asian film directed by Herman Yau. The film shows the life of Qiu Jin (played by Huang Yiwho) finds herself accused then trialled as a revolutionary. Qiu Jin is a poet and martial artist who doesn’t agree with her society that is male ruled, young girls are made to bound their feet, as we see in one of the first scenes where Qiu Jin runs away as a little girl from getting this done. Qiu Jin shows signs of feminism right away from an early age even questioning why she can’t get an education like her brother. Woman are also forced into marriage by their family and Qiu Jin is also made to marry. Her husband feels quite inferior to her as she has no shame in speaking up for herself and women’s rights, which of course her husband would not be pleased with this!
The film actually starts of with the ending and carries on with long flashbacks of the full story of Qiu’s life and how it came to her being trialled. It starts of in the 1880s with a quick historical outline explaining China’s late nineteenth century unrest, overpowered by foreigners to the Qing government’s growing corruption. It shows the siege of the Da Tong school where Qiu Jin prepares for her revolution where mass murder was taken place and then Qiu is captured by the Government for questioning. She is tortured to make her confess to the Government but she keeps strong even through torture although the film ends with her execution from revolutionising against the dynasty.
There are two issues that are shown through the film, feminism and equal rights being the main one and how China is being colonised by the West. This is causing unemployment and no where for the poorer people to live and buy food, as we see in one of the scene’s, where Qiu’s cart is stopped and then surrounded with poor people begging for food, which is quite a terrifying experience for her children. We hear about the war against the West when men say that “they are safeguarding the country” which in then again equal rights comes into play as the women are not allowed to help fights this battle. We also see Qiu get out the cart and fight off the guard trying to make way for a westerner, which aggravates Qiu as she doesn’t understand why they must move the poor for this one man. When Qiu and her husband have a daughter you can see the disappointment when he finds out his first born is a baby girl and not boy, this shows how even her husband didn’t want a girl as a child as she could not carry on the families name, which is quite a big deal in Chinese culture.
I think that there were a few too many fight scene’s in this film. Although the martial arts aspect of it was pretty well done I definitely think there was way too much of it and also a bit too unrealistic for my liking. An example of this when all the men come after Qiu she is faces with around half a dozen men to fight off, how is it possible that she can actually fight off all these men? These fight scene’s also dragged on for far too long and became very repetitive. I think the whole movie was dragged out for far too long infact, it all came back to the same point, how Qiu was fighting for feminism and trying to save her government. Apart from these few points I do think the movie was well made and had quite an interesting and gripping story line to it.