6.6/10
668
9 user 5 critic

Jasmine Flower (2004)

Mo li hua kai (original title)
Generational family saga set in Shanghai in the thirties, sixties and eighties.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel) | 1 more credit »
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2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Mr. Meng
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Xia Du
Yi Lu ...
Zou Jie
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Storyline

Generational family saga set in Shanghai in the thirties, sixties and eighties.

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Genres:

Drama | Family | Romance

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Release Date:

26 April 2006 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Blossoming Jasmine  »

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Budget:

CNY 19,950,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

 
Strangely uninvolving
1 December 2009 | by See all my reviews

Hou Yong is a famous cinematographer in China who is best known for his collaborations with Fifth Generation Directors (he himself graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 1982 as a cinematographer) like Tian Zhuangzhuang, Wu Ziniu and most notably, Zhang Yimou, with whom he has collaborated four times. "Jasmine Women" is Hou's second feature as a director. Like so many Chinese cinematographers (Zhang Yimou, Lü Yue, Gu Changwei) he has ventured into directing, and here he adapts a novel by Su Tong ("Raise the Red Lantern").

As the credits rolled out for "Jasmine Women" I found myself looking at the film as a lost chance. Yes, the cinematography of the movie is alluring and the art direction decent, but the movie, story and editing do not strike one as particularly memorable. If you compare this film to that by Gu Changwei done one year later ("Peacock"), "Jasmine Women" would strike you as no more than a passable sophomore effort. The story lacks empathy and development (plot or character-wise) and Hou directs it like a cyclist on a relentless downhill race. The entire movie appears so rushed for time that none of the characters are decently developed, and each scene lasts on the average two minutes. The men are cads or scumbags, and the women are not very sympathetically portrayed either. One can say that Hou's film "lost it" when he casts character actors like Jiang Wen and Lou Ye as heartless, spineless scums. Zhang Ziyi's characters appear unduly spoilt and stubborn, whereas Joan Chen can't do very much with her dual roles as mother/grandmother.

Which brings us to Zhang Ziyi, who can be a very good actress yet seems to be badly directed here. She is asked to carry the whole film on her shoulders in three different roles, yet she fails to do so.

So what remains of "Jasmine Women" is a rather unmoving, uninvolving spectacle of three women going through similar fates as jilted women/women who lose their husbands.


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