Emperor Ping returns to his palace just before the Chong Young Festival. The Empress Phoenix, his wife, is far from happy to see his return. Ping has ordered his imperial doctor to slowly poison the empress. And, in retaliation, the Empress conspires to overthrow her husband. As hatreds fester and secret passions come to light, no one will remain untouched by the Curse of the Golden Flower.
The Director Yimou Zhang follows up House of Flying Daggers and Hero with his most lavish epic yet. Curse of the Golden Flower is an extraordinary film. It is a big-budget extravaganza that is reminiscent of some of the Hollywood epics of the fifties and sixties. As with all Zhang's western exports, his use of colour is incredible. The palace of Emperor Ping is brought to the screen in a blaze of arresting colour. Every costume and set create a world of sumptuous majesty a world that you will be immediately drawn into.
Of course, like all Asian Cinema, this film has the usual martial arts set pieces throughout, but it does not seem to rely on them to keep the audience interested. Instead, the film uses a complex plot involving the power struggle between the two leads. Chow Yun Fat, as Ping, presents a character who is ruthless and dogmatic, and Gong Li's Empress Phoenix is vulnerable and defiant. Both stars' perfomances are beyond reproach, and all of these qualities come together to create a gloriously opulent saga.
The Curse of the Golden Flower is an epic filled with intrigue and breathtakingly-bloody battle scenes, all set against a backdrop of radiantly decadent colour. If you liked Flying Daggers and Hero, you will adore the Curse of the Golden Flower.