MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,711 this week

Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
"Da hong deng long gao gao gua" (original title)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  20 December 1991 (France)
8.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.3/10 from 19,148 users  
Reviews: 101 user | 46 critic

A young woman becomes the fourth wife of a wealthy lord, and must learn to live with the strict rules and tensions within the household.

Director:

Writers:

(novel),
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

IMDb Picks: August

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in August.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 48 titles
created 29 Apr 2011
 
a list of 30 titles
created 23 Jun 2011
 
a list of 31 titles
created 24 Jun 2011
 
a list of 42 titles
created 12 Feb 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 7 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

Raise the Red Lantern (1991) on IMDb 8.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Raise the Red Lantern.
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 22 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Peiqi Liu, Liuchun Yang
Ju Dou (1990)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband's nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband's heir without ... See full summary »

Directors: Yimou Zhang, Fengliang Yang
Stars: Li Gong, Wei Li, Baotian Li
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story of two men, who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera, and stayed friends for over 50 years.

Director: Kaige Chen
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, Li Gong
Red Sorghum (1987)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1930s China a young woman is sent by her father to marry the leprous owner of a winery. In the nearby red sorghum fields she falls for one of his servants. When the master dies she finds... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Wen Jiang, Rujun Ten
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A provincial boy related to a Shanghai crime family is recruited by his uncle into cosmopolitan Shanghai in the 1930s to be a servant to a ganglord's mistress.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Baotian Li, Wang Xiaoxiao
The Road Home (1999)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Prompted by the death of his father and the grief of his mother, a man recalls the story of how they met in flashback.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Honglei Sun, Hao Zheng
Not One Less (1999)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Minzhi Wei, Huike Zhang, Zhenda Tian
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A Japanese father travels to China's Yunnan province in the place of his ailing son to film a famous folk-opera star.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Ken Takakura, Kiichi Nakai, Shinobu Terajima
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

During China's Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. Now his control over his dominion is complete, including the royal family itself.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Li Gong, Jay Chou
Happy Times (2000)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Zhao is an aging bachelor who hasn't been lucky in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, Zhao leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Lifan Dong, Benshan Zhao, Jie Dong
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Romance sparks between a young woman and a young man from different economic backgrounds during China's Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Dongyu Zhou, Shawn Dou, Meijuan Xi
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

Aircraft hijacking with Chinese special forces rescue. Gong Li as a heroic stewardess.

Directors: Fengliang Yang, Yimou Zhang
Stars: You Ge, Li Gong, Xiaoning Liu
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Saifei He ...
Meishan (Third Wife)
Cuifen Cao ...
Zhuoyan (Second Wife)
Jingwu Ma ...
The Master
Qi Zhao ...
Housekeeper
Lin Kong ...
Yan'er
Shuyuan Jin ...
Yuru (First Wife)
Weimin Ding ...
Zhengyin Cao ...
Old servant
Zhihgang Cui ...
Dr. Gao
Chu Xiao ...
Feipu
Edit

Storyline

China in the 1920's. After her father's death, nineteen year old Songlian is forced to marry Chen Zuoqian, the lord of a powerful family. Fifty year old Chen has already three wives, each of them living in separate houses within the great castle. The competition between the wives is tough, as their master's attention carries power, status and privilege. Each night Chen must decide with which wife to spend the night and a red lantern is lit in front of the house of his choice. And each wife schemes and plots to make sure it's hers. However, things get out of hand... Written by Mattias Pettersson <seaman@sbbs.se>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

China, 1920. One master, four wives.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1991 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Raise the Red Lantern  »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,603,061 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Banned in China for a short time in the early 1990s. See more »

Quotes

Songlian's mother: Rich man? If you marry a rich man, you will only be his concubine.
Songlian: Let me be a concubine. Isn't that the fate of a woman?
See more »

Connections

Featured in Nitrate Base (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Four Houses
19 March 2008 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

I had a good day, so I selected this film. I have several films that I reserve for good days because I know they will reward. Its a sort of celebration that will send me into rich dreams, annotating my life.

This has two known qualities that you, dear reader, can expect without knowing anything about the film itself.

First, you will know that this is a woman directed by someone deeply in love with her. This doesn't always produce great films, but when the director is inherently cinematic, it often evokes something deep in the viewer. There is nothing in the world like looking on the face — the person — you are centered on. A million subtle decisions are made in each scene, summing to an effect that cannot be missed. If this had poor narrative qualities (and some of their films did) it would still have this quality of seeing into a soulmate deeply enough to be able to animate the skin.

Its quite interesting when you consider the woman. If you see her outside of film, or in films made by ordinary eyes, she is quite ordinary. She has an atypical Chinese body: busty and widehipped. She is poised but doesn't have the neck or cheekboned face of other Asian women. Only under this man's eye is she a goddess. You can see this in the very first shot.

The second thing you can count on is the architectural anchoring of the thing. This man knows how to use space. He uses it in the cinematic narrative, for example, if you replay the shots where the house of death is shown, and then the last encounter with it... And if you understand why the decisions about handling distance and surfaces were made they way they were, you will have entered a zone where from now on you will not be able to reason without reasoning with place.

But there are other handlings of space: As with some of his other films, the building is a character. Its the noir narrator who sets the rules — often arbitrary — under which all characters are bound to operate, and which drives the narrative. Its a particularly western notion, this, and has gotten our hero in trouble, even banned. This part is following Welles and Kubrick.

But he goes further than either of them with this notion that the light both has agency of its own (it selects which of the four wives gets a foot massage and sex) and is a part of the fabric of the buildings. The redness changes the spaces it occupies, bringing intrigue with the sex, desire for several things. Its quite layered, what is going on. These lanterns are the real master; in fact the person who inhabits the master's body is hardly even there. We never see his face.

Because of the extensive use of hard planes and selfish light, there aren't many fabric effects here, as we'll see elsewhere.

I am tempted to designate this as one of my two allowed "must see before you die" films of 1991. But I'm in too good a mood to make such a serious decision.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD RELEASE!!!!! lachesistriforce
Is she really crazy? jhandy-1
Why was it banned in China? digitalevk
Gong Li paperbasket
Gong Li as a real-life concubine chicagograd
Sound track? loyd-17
Discuss Raise the Red Lantern (1991) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?