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Reviews & Ratings for
Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker More at IMDbPro »Pao Da Shuang Deng (original title)

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Loud firecrackers liven up an almost faultless production

Author: raymond-15 from Australia
16 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What a marvellous idea to produce a film about two lovers whose paths happen to cross in a fireworks factory. Every now and then some crackers go off with an unexpected bang which does the trick of waking up any viewers who have unfortunately dozed off during the calmer slow moving scenes.

It is difficult to fault this well-produced film about old China and its traditional ways of facing adversity. It is sad when a woman has to decide between "being a woman" and being "the boss" of a fireworks factory. As boss she must not marry because that would mean intrusion of other families into this rigid family business. And there are the jealousies that arise between long serving employees and the advent of a new itinerant artist...who spends too much time with the attractive boss.

The architecture of the sets is fascinating with its arches and flights of steps, its courtyards and balconies and numerous dark corners. Most of all I liked the river in all its moods, especially when the tormented boss is standing on the bank and the river in all its fury is rushing by. This is a great cinematic effect. Watch for it.

The firecracker contest however will be everyone's favourite scene, because as far as I know There has never been anything like it on our movie screens before. I always give high marks for films that show originality in their themes. The brave contests try to outdo each other by juggling exploding various firecrackers close to their bodies. Every man will watch with complete concentration but then cringe at the outcome of this scene.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

It's a simple story, and it works well.

Author: Charlie Prince from NYC
11 December 2001

I didn't find the other reviews helpful so thought I'd post my own.

I'd be the first one to shout "who cares if it's a foreign film, this movie sucks" but it doesn't. The characters are fascinating and the storyline is smooth and keeps you interested. It's slow in the sense that the director isn't afraid to leave in long shots, and let the plot points develop in a subtle manner. It's not slow in the sense that the longer shots are boring. This is not a case of a director falling in love with his footage and neglecting to make necessary cuts (with one exception near the end, perhaps). It's not the drama of Farewell my Concubine or Emperor and the Assassin, nor anything along the lines of Chungking Express or any kind of action fighting films. It's not a crushingly tragic film either, btw, as one might worry from the poster of the girl with the pained look. It's a simple story, and it works well.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Moving story of emotional turmoil in an oriental culture

Author: Hazel Freeman from Cambridge, England
12 July 2001

A moving story of a young woman, Chun Zhi, who inherits a firework factory in the China of former times. Family expectations are that she will dedicate her life to the business and remain celibate, and she dresses in traditional male costume and is called "Master".

But an itinerant painter, Nu Bao, starts employment there, and before long a romantic interest develops. Notions of tradition and duty interplay with human needs, and there is no simple resolution of the conflict.

The pace of the film is slow and the action is largely a matter of allusion, which makes it a difficult film for Western audiences; but the fiery nature of the two main characters ... the opposing colours red and green ... result in clashes and regrets in quick succession.

As useful for a glimpse of life in an alien culture as for anything else.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An amazing film!

Author: t veirs ( from Peoria IL
1 June 2001

I began watching this with no preconceptions- I had never even heard of it- however, I was immediately pulled in by the intriguing story, beautiful cinematography, and unique characters. WATCH THIS MOVIE- if for no other reason than to see the astounding firecracker competition. You will not forget this film.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Exquisitely Subtile

Author: xianjiro from Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
1 April 2001

While not for everyone, this is a wonderful movie about how the individual fits into a social hierarchy. The key is these individuals do _not_ fit into the roles they have been assigned. And not only does the viewer get to watch the unfolding story, but one is treated to cinematography from a non-Hollywood point of view. This is one I would love to see on the big screen. One of my most favourite films.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

An interesting foray into another culture

Author: Jess ( from Minnesota
23 January 2001

I enjoyed this film as I do most foreign films. Subtitled rather than dubbed into English, the speech conveys the feelings of the characters. The era of the movie and the foreign setting and mores made me feel as if I were watching a film

made by aliens. The actions and reactions of the characters were either below my expectations of a given situation or completely over the top. Rarely did I see any character act in a manner that I expected. I find this very refreshing in a movie if a bit confusing. I liked the story and sympathized with the characters. I found the film style and quality to be good or above average. I give it a 7 out of 10.

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Interesting inversion

Author: Janjira Gardner from Thailand
16 May 2016

A brief conversation, together with an interesting inversion of traditional roles, keeps "Red Firecracker, Green Firecracker" (1994) timely. When the female Boss (who habitually wears men's clothes) speaks privately with an itinerant male artisan who is newly-arrived to her family's company town, the entire Confucian system is undermined in a single sentence. Yet, in another scene, the Boss is concerned that traditional rules be followed when paying workers – and again, that traditional punishment be meted out to a worker who caused a fire in the factory. No one questions this 30-something woman, not even male elders in their 70s. She is accepted in her role as The Boss. However, as the story continues, and the boss falls in love with the artisan, all bets are off. She changes her hair (watch out!) and dons traditional female garb. Then she announces to everyone that she is tired of being the boss, and that she wants to be a woman. What?! No one, absolutely no one, accepts her statement of wishes. So, everyone plots… Hmm. It's an interesting inversion, but perhaps one should not make too much of it.

NB. A revision of earlier (nearly incomprehensible) English subtitles has been uploaded to – not perfect, but an improvement. At a minimum, the revision is more coherent.

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0 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Sad and strange love story

Author: Prikolist from United States
21 September 2006

A strange love story between a rich woman and a poor man, especially for one not familiar with Chinese culture. It will give you a few laughs (a few dirty ones too), the characters will curse all throughout, but don't be distracted, it is a serious and rather depressing drama. The settings include falling apart houses and going on boats across a dirty river, and most characters' clothes look like they took them from homeless people, which all adds to the mood. Don't expect any beautiful shots like in "Hero", or any martial arts. All thought-out heroes behaved strangely and unrealistically bringing the ending to top it off and kill whatever impression of the movie I had. For instance, twenty armed men getting scared of a few kids throwing firecrackers is very unconvincing. But go ahead, if you like this sort of depressing love stories, you'll have a blast.

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1 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

don't be fooled

Author: spud-41 from california
14 January 2001

People may be compelled to think that just because this is a foreign film, it is a good film. This is in fact, a terrible movie, and don't be fooled by the "noble" subject matter. The love story is ridiculous and badly contrived, the acting is next to terrible, and the dramatic scenes are nothing short of raunchy. The only good thing I can say about this is that there are a few beautifully shot scenes, but there is usually something stupid happening in that scene, so you don't notice the background. I wondered to myself as I watched it how it could possibly have been successful enough to come to the United States.

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