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...
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.
An interesting concept with good performances, that failed to truly impress in most areas. The cinematography is stunning, and the performances are very good, but nothing else really sticks out. The whole concept of the film is ripe with potential, but the story is so meandering and the characters are at a mix between dull and insane, that it all makes for a mixed picture. There's no connection to the characters in play at this dangerous game, in competition for one master, but the film does produce some moments of chilling beauty and others of obsolete boredom. Unfortunate.
However, the quality of the film cannot be denied, as it is fairly good overall. It…
This is the one movie that has been on my watchlist since forever. It was first this evening that I finally decided to watch it. It's my wisest decision since I decided to watch Ip Man.
Li Gong (whom is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen on the screen) plays the main character in this movie by Yimou Zhang, a woman that get's married to a rich lord of a powerful family. She is one of four concubines and must compete against the others for the masters attention. However, she slowly begins to realize how it is to be the concubine of a powerful lord.
Raise the Red Lantern is mesmerizing. It's enchanting. From the first…
Zhang Yimou brilliantly and passionately channels Kubrick in this breakdown of customs and antiquity that’s in the same thematic alleyway as Harakiri, with both films studying a feudal moment in their respective country's histories.
Aesthetically, this film’s purely minimalist approach is simply outstanding. The usage of colors, limited camera placement, and sparse cuts makes every one of Zhang’s images stick with you. His colors sink in and the ancient Chinese architecture grow on you in the similar way that the Overlook Hotel does in Kubrick’s unsettling The Shining. Here, the obvious parallel is a prison and what a prison it is.
This film is a loudly perverse and fearlessly courageous take-down of an elitist affluence-induced patriarchy with a paradoxically misogynist…
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
A beautifully photographed Chinese film led with a powerful female performance by Li Gong. Gong plays Songlian, a young woman who seemed to have a great life, going to a great university in 1920's China. But once her father dies, and there is no more money to send Songlian to school, she marries into a rich family led by a powerful lord and his other three wives. Songlian soon rests into her new home, despite its odd rules, which seem to carry through all generations. The lord, each night, chooses one of his wives to sleep with and once he chooses, their room is lit with red lanterns. But as the seasons change, Songlian soon realizes that this perfect paradise…
Masterfully made, but the story wasn't my cup of tea. The sound, though... It's unbelievably well done.
Gorgeous and elegantly focused. Liked it a lot more than JU DOU. Now I get the fandom for Gong Li (have I only really seen her in JU DOU and 2046 before this?)
So, yes, excellent, but still not quite up to some of the hyperbole I've seen around for many years (25 films To See Before You Die? really?). Can't focus on that, though, it's a damn good film, beautifully put together.
The cinematography is striking & artistically lush with color (or lack thereof) & contrast, & the shot composition/pacing is haunting, to say the least. The image of a bright red, yet soft, burning lantern in a plain of seemingly harsh white snow with remain forever fresh in my mind. The desperation of being truly together but alone, along with the elegant but socially damning femininity here really shines through.
This is the 2nd film in a series of "Zhang Yimou" films that I watched for a research paper. I loved the cinematography in this film and how Yimou always finds a way to input the color red into his films. Songlian (Gong Li) is the new concubine of a wealthy man. "Songlian soon discovers, however, that not all the concubines in the household receive the same luxurious treatment. In fact, the master decides on a daily basis the concubine he will spend the night with; whomever he chooses gets her lanterns lit, receives the foot massage, gets her choice of menu items at mealtime, and gets the most attention and respect from the servants. Pitted in constant competition against…
I've not much time to write this, so my thoughts are going to be more disjointed than usual:
I was reminded of Bluebeard as I watched this, and ultimately, it did not fail to fulfill the expectation created by that connection. Like in the legend of Bluebeard, multiple generations of women are housed in a castle by a dominant patriarch (though unlike the legend, these women live here all at once). Like in the legend, there is a room that means death. Like in the legend, traditions rule the house. Expectations dictate behavior, and deviation means chaos.
Unlike in the legend, the women of this story are all present in the same time, and their interactions form the bulk of…
Claustrophobic, repetitive, and sterile. Which proves to be the very best way to tell this story about a young girl forced to be one of four concubines for a rich lord. These four women are stuck in a hopeless situation that is out of their control. And with no end in sight, it's natural that they try to make the best out of their situation, and begin to compete for the little bit of happiness that they believe they can find at this estate (prison).
The camera barely ever moves throughout the entire movie evoking the feeling of not being able to blink as you watch the drama. And if that wasn't enough to stop you from looking away, the movie also stars the great Gong Li, one of the most beautiful women on Earth (and possibly beyond). A great story and one of my favorite movies.
Like most films of the period Raise the Red Lantern features a water down plot however that's not really what this period in Chinese film was about. It's all about great visuals and some really interesting symbolism and this film has that in spades.
It's an interesting plot despite it watered down nature with a young girl finding herself the fourth mistress of a man who every night chooses which of his mistresses he sleeps with by decorating her house with red lanterns.
The relationships between the fourth mistresses are deeply complex and hugely fascinating. There's loathing, admiration, fear and everything inbetween it's truly a joy to watch these four women compete for the masters affects.
There are some really…
- 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 1154. An easy way of seeing how…
- The Racket
- 7th Heaven
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
- Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!