In 8th-century China, Emperor Hsuan Tsung is inconsolable after the death of his much loved wife, Wu Hui. His court vainly tries to distract him by presenting to him the loveliest young women in the empire. General An Lu-Shan, a power-hungry womaniser, notices the enchanting beauty of Yang, who is a cousin of one of his lowly servants. Yang is taken to Mont Li convent to be educated by the abbess. And the Emperor falls in love with her… In his first colour feature, redolent of Japanese prints and Chinese watercolours, Mizoguchi traces calligraphic-style movements with his camera. A masterpiece by one of cinema’s greatest directors.