Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
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.
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…
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…
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.
Raise the Red Lantern or How to Fuck Up: An Autobiography by Songlain. is a movie I discovered through a bunch of pictures.
I saw a cinegrid for this film and thought to myself "Wow, this looks really pretty! I kinda want to watch it!" This was the best possible way i could have discovered it because I went in to the movie thinking it was going to be a little bit slow and meditative giving me time to appreciate the cinematography. Where the cinematography was absolutely brilliant (With those little things like never really seeing the masters face) and unforgettably beautiful To my surprise the movie was fun on a sort of visceral level.
"Uh-huh Yan'er. you spit in…
La linterna roja.
Un símbolo: la linterna roja. Que sirve como conflicto entre las cuatro mujeres de un noble chino. Cuatro mujeres en disputa por ser aceptada cada día por el noble de 53 años. Nuestra protagonista, la cuarta señora recien llegada, y rebelde con las normas que se encuentra al ser dada como esposa del noble.
Solo encuentra una aliada en la tercera esposa, con la que podrá expresar sus pensamientos.
De planos preciosos, la película sigue el canon chino de ofrecernos una fotografía espectacular basada en tonos cálidos y más fríos en la última parte.
Estupenda visión para ver las arcaicas costumbres de la sociedad china.
Very, very familiar, and then I found out afterwards that the book has been adapted into a Thai novel, which has turned into a TV series twice. Never watched them but the story is culturally significant enough that I more or less know the general outline. That doesn't diminish this film's impact though, which is both formally amazing and deeply layered in its tale of oppressive order. Gong Li's face is as controlled as the direction, often a still face while her mental strains keep getting stronger. When she finally cracks near the end, the film's style frenzies up right with her, which makes the emotions register more heartbreakingly. Great, great film.
Chinese master Zhang Yimou's visually hypnotic, and terrific classic drama about China's concubinage system and the Chinese society itself is beyond cathartic and masterful--which also features one of Gong Li's landmark performances.
The reason why I absolutely adore this film is beside its delectable visuals, is that rich narrative that transcends through time. Zhang kept me captivated, and glued from the first minutes up to the last. Another key point here is Gong Li's towering performance as Songlian. Gong Li's layered, emotionally expressive performance is smooth as silk, and just beautiful. This is certainly of the most beautiful films I've ever seen, and Zhang's best film--in my opinion.
Uniqe, as a work that depicts an interesting culture.
It's good because it always remains focused on the lives of the women and on the system that limits them and imprisons them and strips them of their humanity. Their husband is barely even characterized. There's a point in the film where Songlian says that she and the other three wives may as well be dogs, cats, or rats. She says a few other things (watch the movie), and this short segment of dialogue encapsulates the dehumanization they experience. The concubines exist within a system that not only limits their autonomy, but also causes them to be at each other's throats, so they won't step out of line and challenge the master too much. There's a kind of silent brutality that takes place against these women within the rules they must follow and the roles they're expected to fulfill. They're treated like they don't have minds of their own. All of this would be depressing and maddening.
A war movie that isn't really a war movie.
- 12 Angry Men
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- 25th Hour
- 3 Women
- A Trip to the Moon
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Birth of a Nation
- Les Vampires
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1167. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Godfather
- Seven Samurai
- The Godfather: Part II
- 12 Angry Men
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