14 January 2006
Raise the Red Lantern. There are literally hundreds of reviews about how beautiful, sublime, and hauting this film is. And I can't disagree with any of them.
The imagery is amazing, the acting unparralled, and the impact on Chinese cinema still being felt.
I'm keeping this review short. Because there isn't much more to say.
Pure genius. Zhang Yimou at the top of his game.
Songlian is the fourth wife of a rich nobleman. She spends her days in solitude (each wife lives in a separate wing of his enormous estate), waiting to be spoiled and pampered that day,her husband elects to sleep with her -- her only notification: a foot massage right before dinner.
The wives have very little contact with one another, so the film has many quiet scenes. I'm sure Kim Kiduk (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring) was inspired on some level by this material. And even if he wasn't, you could watch these two movies together and hear many 1,000 words of dialog, total.
And of course, Gong Li isn't all that bad to look at for 2 hours.
But, even if you don't like to read subtitles or think about the movie you are viewing, just watch the scenes unfold. The framing of every shot. The architechture. The costumes. The colors.
Zhang inspires artists at every level with his rich color choices and beautifully paced scenes.
Nothing is rushed. No one is a hurry to get this story over with.
Even filming an empty bowl is art to this guy.
I like pictures. Sue me.
Which is one of the ingredients that makes it transcend the boundaries of normal movies.
Among the best Chinese tragedies ever.
Quote: Um. The movie is in Chinese. What should I quote?