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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.
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Banned in China for a short time in the early 1990s. See more »
Who are you?
Fourth mistress, please come inside.
[losing her cool]
So you're the fourth mistress!
[Yan'er rudely pulls the water bowl away from Songlian and puts clothes in it]
Yes! I am the fourth mistress. Bring my suitcase inside please.
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Every frame of this film explodes with excellent acting, cinematography, music and art direction. I never thought I would see something so beautiful in a foreign film since Ingmar Bergman's work. This is by no means, an art film this is a human film, while holding an ethnic background these people portrayed in the film are all of us and is probably what we would call a fable on the cruelty of humanity. I'am disgusted to discover this film isn't on video or DVD in america. It seems as if its popularity has run thin since the 90's but this is a masterpiece people!
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