Zhang Yimou (Ju Dou) directed this fascinating, visually formal 1991 film about an educated woman (Gong Li) who is sent off to become the newest wife of a feudal nobleman in 1920s China. Nearly isolated in his spooky, palatial home, she develops relationships with several of the other wives and slowly becomes aware of a hideous legacy of punishment toward more willful women. The film has a brittle and dry quality that is deliberate, but also suggestive of Zhang working through various explorations of his own style (which he resolved in his next film, The Story of Qiu Ju). Gong Li, one of the world's great actresses, is superb. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot has been well documented, although this is one of those movies where the less you know going in the better. Suffice to say the first thing you'll want to do once the movie is over is to watch it again.
It is disappointing to see a number of very mediocre movies receiving 4 and 5 stars simply because they shun the standard Hollywood formula, as if mainstream automatically equals bad and independent automatically equals good. The mediocrity of these films becomes apparent when compared to indy films of the highest caliber, such as Raise the Red Lantern. Highly, highly recommended.
Still, what an amazing movie! It captures a microcosm of tradition in a very enclosed, almost claustrophobic space in which women are taken in as wives to some old-fashioned man who plays a very secondary role despite being the husband.
The music is beautiful, the art direction is genius, the actresses are magical and overall, this movie is a gem. If you can find a criterion version, do splurge (I would have!) but for now, this DVD does the trick
Most recent customer reviews
Zhang Yimou is a great Chinese film-director and all of his works are worth watching. Gorgeous cinematography and fascinating story.Published on Oct. 7 2009 by nobody
This is an exquisite film in every detail. Beauty is in every frame. Were it not so well made, I would describe it as a slow-moving domestic drama: Jane Austen with claws. Read morePublished on July 16 2004 by Smallchief
The film is great. The imported Chinese/English subtitled version has English subtitles alright, but they are a terrible translation.Published on Dec 7 2003 by John D. Hernandez Jr.
Great movie! The colors, the setting, the lighting, the plot, the music, everything is done like you feel like you hear those
bells even after it is over! Great!
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