Synopsis by Mark Deming
An unrequited love affair is played out against tumultuous events in Asian history in this epic-scale historical drama. Qiushui (Chen Kun) is a teacher living and working in Taipei in the mid-1940. Qiushui meets Biyun (Vivian Hsu), a beautiful young woman from a wealthy family, when he's hired to tutor her. Qiushui soon falls head over heels for Biyun, and she clearly has feelings for him; however, Qiushui's close friend Zilu (Steven Cheung) is also infatuated with Biyun, and her father Wang Tingwu (Chin Han) isn't sure if Qiushui is a good match for his daughter. Despite it all, Qiushui and Biyun begin making plans to marry, but their hopes are dashed when the Taiwanese government begins a pogrom against those on the political left, and Qiushui's activism forces him to leave the country. Several years later, Qiushui is a medic tending to wounded soldiers in Korea, and an attractive woman named Jindi (Li Bingbing) is assigned to assist him. Jindi is quite taken with Qiushui, but he hasn't been able to forget Biyun, and Jindi finds using her feminine charm to make him forget his old love is an uphill struggle. Later, in the present day, the events of sixty years earlier take on a new importance as aging artist (Chang Gua Ahleh) and his niece Isabella Leong set out to find out what became of his brother Xue. The first co-production between producers from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Yun Shui Yao (English title: The Knot) was released simultaneously in all three nations, and became a major box-office success in China.