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on May 21, 2004
If there were any fairness in Hollywood, Gong Li would have won the Academy Award for Best Actress for any one of her many movies. Besides being drop-dead gorgeous, she is an exquisite actress of the first order. The opening scene, a close-up of her face as she resigns herself to her nihilistic future, will convince anyone of this fact. Raise the Red Lantern is a thinking, engrossing movie that dispenses with special effects and overwhelming scores and concentrates on story and acting. Zhang Yimou is famous for delivering biting criticism of the oppressive, delusional aspects of Chinese society. Raise the Red Lantern shows one very strong, independent woman's attempt to overcome thousands of years of historic oppression in early 20th ca China. Women are collectables for rich men, mere objects of possession. The horrific backstabbing and betrayal is among the women themselves as they vie for most-desired-object status. When the human need for dignity and respect surface, the repercussions are catastrophic.
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.
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on March 18, 2004
This is Zhang Yimou's finest directorial achievement. this a story about the hopelesness of early chinese scoiety where bigomy is commonplace and women are basically treated as slaves by their husbands. songlia(gong li) is pressured by her mother to get married. she gets married to a nobleman, he also has 3 other wives live as well and forms a bond with some of them. they are not allowed to leave the large castle-like estate and have their own wings of the house to stay in. they compete against one another for the attention of their husband so he will stay the night with her and he hangs red lanterns in whichever wing he spends the night at. there are twistsin the movie as to which wives are really her friends and which are not. this movie is truly remarkable. this movie introduced me to chinese cinema. i recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good story.
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on March 18, 2004
This movie is an absolute must-see. I first saw it on assignment from a film class. I absolutely loved it! The plot was most intriguing and engaging. The female is obviously a very talented woman as her acting was superb.
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on April 22, 2009
I have been looking for this movie on DVD for... ever. I was so thrilled to see it available here! Granted, this may not be a cinephile's dream and I was a bit worried after reading the reviews, but this is the version I used to rent as a VHS. The translation is the same, so I can't tell you if this has been badly translated...
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
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on June 28, 2014
I unfortunately noticed, after ordering it from Amazon, that the movie was not on the DVD format but on VHS format. Since like most of the consumers we don't have a VHS player anymore, we throw the film in the bin.
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on November 7, 2003
Very moving and haunting movie, reflecting the oppression of the old chinese ways and the tragic consequences for those who dare to rebel. Excellent. Enjoyed every minute.
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on November 29, 2003
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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on December 7, 2003
The film is great. The imported Chinese/English subtitled version has English subtitles alright, but they are a terrible translation.
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on October 7, 2009
Zhang Yimou is a great Chinese film-director and all of his works are worth watching. Gorgeous cinematography and fascinating story.
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on July 16, 2004
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. I couldn't quite accept Gong Li as a Chinese woman of the 1920s. She looked a little too tall, well fed, and healthy: a modern look that showed through the gorgeous costumes and scenery.
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