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The Curse of the Golden Flower

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 4:44 pm
by rocketscientist
Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the cinematographic beauty of this film! Zhang Yimou has pulled out all the stops - and this old costume hand was literally drooling. I've never seen anything like it. The sets, the costumes, the props and the art direction were like nothing I've witnessed before. And I'm a connoisseur of costume flicks!

As well as all the opulent beauty of T'ang Dynasty China, Yimou treats us to some pretty fabulous proformances by Chou Yun Fat and the stunning Gong Li. That woman gets more beautiful the older she gets. Her genes should be perserved somewhere! :P

Yimou tells a story of palace intrigue and power play in the Forbidden city as the ailing Empress struggles for both power over the next ruling prince and for her own life, for every hour she must drink a 'medicine' concocted for her by the Emperor. Her loyal son, the second prince becomes desperate to aid her when she becomes obsessed with embroidering golden chrysanthemums. Somehow they both know her time is running out.

This movie is filmed with a fine eye for detail. The mannerisms and even the movements are authentic to this fascinating period of Imperial China. Although I dare say the women of the T'ang Dynasty were not quite as well endowed as modern actresses. :wink: That said, all the bosom in no way hurt the 'look' of the piece. It may have been the reason for the R rating though.

It was a bloody movie, but not gratuitously so. (imo)As the Emperor loses control of his family it seems that bloodshed is unavoidable. Each prince vies for a place with both the parents and none can tell what the outcome will be.

If you love lavish foreign films or Zhang Yimou, don't miss this - I think you'll love it - I did


Check out the web site - ... ndex2.html

edited for horrific spelling

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 7:51 pm
by Windwalker
This one came and went so fast in Boston that I missed it! I intend to catch it if they bring it back -- and if not, get the DVD. I agree with you that Gong Li is absolutely ravishing and Chou Yun Fat has presence and charisma. And, of course, Zhang Yimou is (literally) a spectacular director. Everything I've seen of his has been dazzling.

May I beg for spoilers of the ending???

Posted: Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:26 pm
by rocketscientist
Spoilers...Humm *rubs chin* well - she lives. But it isn't exactly happily ever after. :shock:

The Curse of the Golden Flower

Posted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:53 pm
by Marie
Okay Kathryn,

I just picked up the DVD today and will get back to you with my thoughts. As Athena said above, the film came and went so fast, I didn't have the opportunity to see it. And since it only played at an art house in center city it departed within 2 weeks to my dismay.
Here's hoping for an interesting viewing.
Thanks for your suggestion!


Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:42 pm
by intrigued_scribe
Having missed the film in theaters myself, I'll also have to pick up the DVD. Thank you for the suggestion. :)


Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 4:56 pm
by intrigued_scribe
Spectacular film! :D After seeing it in its entirety, I also loved Curse of the Golden Flower.

Aside from the aforementioned race-against-time element that overshadows the Empress and her second son as her time runs out, I found other aspects of the plot just as riveting, particularly the plight suffered by a few more prominent supporting characters. It becomes apparent early on that they are simply pawns in the greater power struggle taking place, and the ending for those individuals (especially the physician's daughter, not to give too much away) was to me simply heart-breaking.

Finally, the sorrowful and ironic twist the Empress' struggle takes, in my opinion, strikes as a final, powerful blow in the series of tragedies that unfold. Again, thanks for suggesting this masterpiece. :)


Posted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 11:28 am
by Windwalker
I get the distinct feeling that an essay on wuxia films is in our future... it may explore an aspect of the past/future connection that came up in the comments to the Alexander essay on the blog.

Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:48 pm
by rocketscientist
Marie, looking foreward to your thoughts on Curse of the Golden Flower

Heather - you liked it? I thought it was pretty spectacular as well - although my eleven year old found it overly damatic and a little boring. :D He liked the fight scenes though.

I think it was a movie essentially about women and therefore may end up being misunderstood or overlooked by most of the mainsteam critics.

Both the Empress and the mother of the crown prince carried the plot. The daughter was really the most significant side plot. The men were both the motivational force and the tension.

Not your typical western movie, but I liked it alot.

(I know, a strange bunch of comments, but I'm trying not to leave spoilers)

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 3:41 pm
by intrigued_scribe
rocketscientist wrote:
Both the Empress and the mother of the crown prince carried the plot. The daughter was really the most significant side plot. The men were both the motivational force and the tension.
I got that impression myself, especially in the second half of the film. :)


Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 4:28 pm
by Windwalker
(*arms akimbo*) Ok, you guys. After all these excruciating hints, you made me so curious that I looked up the spoilers. I will probably still see the movie for the sake of the visuals and Gong Li, though!

Posted: Wed May 02, 2007 7:54 pm
by rocketscientist
Where did you find spoilers? And rent it anyway - I think you'll enjoy it.

Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:59 am
by Windwalker
Well, I finally saw The Curse of the Golden Flower last night. It could have been shorter, some of the motivations were opaque (specifically the Emperor's) and the fight scenes were muddy... but the sense of powerful passions seething inside the stifling court etiquette was overpowering.

Since others already discussed the major points, I wanted to add some minor notes. For me, the small touches were the best: the natural play between the Crown Prince and the doctor's daughter; the conflicted but very real affection between the Empress and Prince Jai. And I found two segments particularly astonishing visually: the stunning (and of course ominous) bird's eye view of the journey of the doctor's family; and the whip-like release of the Emperor's hair from its bindings, when he explodes into rage after the youngest son reels out of control.