RAISE THE RED LANTERN
Release Date: March 13, 1992
Starring: Gong Li, Ma Jingwu & He Caifei
Runtime: 125 minutes
Distributor: Orion Pictures
Director: Zhang Yimou
Producer: Ni Zhen (in Mandarin with
subtitles) ON THE NOVEL BY: Su
Writer: Chiu Fu-sheng
Address Comments To:
(L, V, S) A beautiful and profitable insight into another culture, in another time, reflecting on the human capacity for ignorance and cruelty, slightly marred by 3 obscenities, sexual situations (implied) and adultery (implied).
Nominated for an Academy Award, the Chinese film, RAISE THE RED LANTERN, deals with sexual politics in 1920's (China). Beautifully executed, the film is an ornate Chinese tapestry, as strong as it is delicately woven, about a young girl who becomes the fourth wife of the head of a powerful family. It affords a profitable insight into another culture, in another time, that reflects on the human capacity for ignorance and cruelty.
Nominated for an Academy Award, RAISE THE RED LANTERN is a Chinese tapestry, as strong as it is delicately woven, about a young girl, Songlian, whose father has died, and who, unable to tolerate her stepmother, leaves school and becomes the fourth mistress of the House of Chen Zuoquian. There, she meets the first mistress, Yuru, a neglected, embittered contemporary of the 50-year-old Chen; the second mistress, Zhuoyun, an outwardly smiling but malevolent woman; and the third mistress, Meishan, a haughty opera singer who clashes immediately with the proud Songlian, who has usurped Meishan's position as the youngest, prettiest wife. Sensing the resentment of her servant Yan'er, who had envisioned herself as fourth mistress, Songlian turns as scathing as the rest. When Songlian feigns pregnancy, they conspire to betray her.
In a movie laden with symbolism, the Red Lanterns represent the wives' insignificance and the bones Chen throws them, and the castle is their prison. RAISE THE RED LANTERN affords a profitable insight into another culture, in another time. A film of great beauty, it uses that beauty to reflect on the human capacity for ignorance and cruelty.