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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Raise the Red Lantern

Posted on Thu, Jul 26, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Raise the Red Lantern
Studio: MGM
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: Raise the Red Lantern
Not many directors can go from touching humanist dramas to dazzling swordplay adventures and then back again, but China's Zhang Yimou pulls it off without a hitch. Before impressing action buffs with Hero and House of Flying Daggers, Zhang made (among other harsh criticisms of Chinese society) Raise the Red Lantern, a ravishing and sorrowful look at a 19-year-old girl's (Gong Li) forced marriage as the fourth wife to a wealthy landowner. The master dictates which wife he's going to sleep with each night by filling her room with red lanterns, and when he chooses the beautiful young Gong night after night, the older wives' petty jealousies turn into spiteful hostility. Gong's character isn't let off the hook, either; her abusive treatment toward a belligerent servant girl mirrors the contempt the other wives express toward her. This sumptuous movie is a modern feminist classic about patriarchy and dehumanization, with a conclusion among the most distressing ever filmed.

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