All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
Raise the Red Lantern
China in the 1920's. After her father's death, 19 year old Songlian is forced to marry the much older lord of a powerful family. With three wives already, each living in a separate house within the great castle, there is fierce competition for his attention and the privileges that are gained. This competition gets out of hand...
Film #16 of Project 90
” If you act well, you can fool other people; if you do it badly, you can only fool yourself.”
Zhang Yimou turns his lens toward a world where the happiness and sadness of women rely on the way men act, feel and think, but instead of putting one of those mighty men at the center of his film he bravely focuses on those unfortunate women and calmly shows us the inevitable tragedy of their life. Raise the Red Lantern is the sorrowful story of a group of women’s lives who are trapped in a life build of unfulfilled wishes, unspoken desires, jealousy, failure, humiliation and spoiled prides.
Yimou’s main success is that without getting…
For my two cents, Raise the Red Lantern is Zhang Yimou's best film, with the also excellent To Live running a very close second. Gong Li, playing the newly recruited fourth wife of a wealthy 1920s nobleman, is simply stunning, both in appearance and as a then up-and-coming actress. He Saifei also shines in her performance as the third wife and it is her heartbreaking story that really makes this film the masterpiece that it is.
Centered on the intrigues between the three younger wives and, to a lesser degree, an unlucky servant girl (perhaps the film's most tragic character) who soon finds herself far out of her league, the slowly evolving, but immaculately paced, plot is sure to tug at the heartstrings of even the most jaded of cinephiles. Beautifully shot and perfectly crafted, Raise the Red Lantern is simply a must-see film.
But in the end the choice of re-watching Raise the Red Lantern this weekend is simply due to the death of Roger Ebert, and I felt it appropriate to select one of his chosen Great Movies this time around. I'll also use three quotes from his first review of the movie, the first being the same one I used for my Push 10 notes;
Yimou uses the bold, bright colors of Ju Dou again this time; his film was shot in the classic three-strip Technicolor process, now abandoned by Hollywood, which allows a richness of reds and yellows…
Now, the story in itself, though well told and better acted, would not have been enough for me to love this film. The life of a concubine just doesn't do much for me, Gong Li being magnificent aside.
But. Raise the Red Lantern is a heavywight contender in the category "best cinematography in the history of man". If pressed I'd say that Yimou had a finger in that as well, as his cinematographer hasn't shone this brightly since (but did get his "hands" on a Woody Allen film or two). On top of the cinematography the mise en scene is perfection brought to life, and it gives off this atmospheric sense of the past, with all it's…
Film #2 Of The May 30 Days, 30 Countries Challenge - China
"She has the face of Buddha and the heart of a scorpion."
#77 on Berken's Favorite Movies Of All Time
I'm surprised that this isn't banned in China considering what a savage evisceration of tradition in a patriarchal society it is. Likewise, I wasn't expecting such a psychologically accurate portrayal of the moral gray area being boxed in by an inequitable tradition can drive people to. Being trapped by tradition is not unlike being stranded on an island separated from society, the film seems to argue, and just as likely to lead to cannibalism (okay, metaphorical in this case, but still).
Crucially, the film is able to allow…
Raise the Red Lantern follows a girl who accepts to be a man's fourth wife and gets caught in a web of intrigues and lies.
Although we never see anything beyond the castle grounds, the movie has beautiful shots and scenes. The soundtrack is really beautiful too and well connected with the correspondent scenes.
The movie has a slow pace, but it's never boring and the plot is interesting and show us the complex relationship between the four wives. The role and expectations of a woman in the 20's are of great importance too. The acting is really good, specially the lead actress, Gong Li.
Raise of the Red Lantern is a really good movie worth watching.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Beautiful to behold. Tale of a poor girl who is married off as Fourth Wife(?) (Concubine?) to some bigwig and finds herself getting a foot massage in preparation for her wedding night. I will never forget the sound of the little foot hammers. Things happen between all the wives and tragedy ensues. Loved the costumes, the house, the opera singing, and the relationships between all the women, servants included. Noticed that the husband's face is left out of many shots, making me think that he is not that important to merit our attention.
Beautifully shot and well acted film that is best narratively and thematically during the first two thirds; a parable about power structures and how we adapt and struggle within those rather than asking broader questions. Narrative arc means the ending makes us consider the film to be more conventional than it probably is, but this is pretty special. Was a privilege to see it on 35mm film also.
Saw on 35mm at AGNSW
Absolutely gorgeous cinematography from Zhao Fei lifts Yimou's eventually complex tale of power struggle. It's a beautiful and intelligent film, up until its final moments, where it feels almost like it just cops out on subtlety and abruptly changes tactics from the amusing and compelling build-up of revenge in the film's center.
Movie #10 from my 25 films >10 years old list.
I think I chose to watch this one because it was reportedly one of Roger Ebert's favourites.
It portrays the tragic effects of a male dominated society in 1920s China when women were treated as little more than sex slaves, set up as rivals to destroy one another through competitive jealousy.
An important historical piece and reminder of how women have and continue to be treated as less than human in various times and places throughout the world.
I'm glad that I watched it. Unfortunately, the copy we viewed was of marginal quality, reducing the impact of the brilliant visuals that this film is known for.
Zhang Yimou creates a great atmosphere with rich colors and beautiful scenery and also manages to showcase the impact of totalitarian systems on a young woman, played perfectly by Gong Li.
Raise the Red Lantern is a wonderful film of colors and narrow passageways, controlling these four concubines as they in fight against one another while the society pressed down upon them. Their master, never fully shown in the frame, haunts them as they go about their bickering and political decisions to one up one another.
Gong Li is amazing here, though every supporting character perfectly fits into the framework of the film. The mis en scene works perfectly with the actors themselves, showing them as trapped within walls and color.
This builds on the themes and directorial style of Ju Dou, showing how extravagant Zhang Yimou would become later in his career.
stars the assertive and resolute gong li. youll be forgiven for immediately associating this movie with its context and time-period, but pay closer attention to what raise the red lantern has to say about hierarchy, rules, and authority. the tragedy of the ending, where the innocent reinforce the system which victimizes them, acknowledges the tendency of decent people to be complicit in horrible acts.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Zhang Yimou's Raise the Red Lantern, based on Su Tong's 1990 novel Wives and Concubines, is simply a sublime film which explores the social climate of China's past and present through the story of a young woman becoming a wealthy man's fourth wife in the 1920s. The film has sometimes been read as a comment on communism or feminism, but in its heart it seems to me like a comment on the human condition in general, and remains one of the best Asian films I've seen. The film's now famous distribution issues started in China actually, where the film was supposedly banned for a short time even though the script was approved by the censors. The controversy was apparently raised…
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!