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 revealing his parentage in this circular tragedy.

Directors:

Yimou Zhang, Fengliang Yang (co-director)

Writer:

Heng Liu
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Gong Li ... Ju Dou
Baotian Li ... Yang Tianqing
Wei Li Wei Li ... Yang Jinshan
Zhang Yi Zhang Yi ... Yang Tianbai as a child
Ji-an Zheng Ji-an Zheng ... Yang Tianbai as a youth
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ma Chong Ma Chong
Zhijun Cong Zhijun Cong
Wu Fa Wu Fa
Zhaoji Jia Zhaoji Jia
Jia Jin Jia Jin
Xingli Niu Xingli Niu
Qianbin Yang Qianbin Yang ... (as Yang Qianbin)
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Storyline

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 revealing his parentage in this circular tragedy. This tale of romantic and familial love in the face of unbreakable tradition is more universal than its setting. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was restored in 2017 by French company Impex Films with support from Arte France and Hiventy. This restoration was later first broadcast on October 2, 2017 on Franco-German channel Arte. See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: The Best Films of 1991 (1992) See more »

User Reviews

 
Chinese patriarchal madness
29 July 2007 | by lastliberalSee all my reviews

Gong Li is just about one of the most beautiful actresses in the world today. It is hard to believe that she has been acting for 20 years.

This is one of her earlier works, and it is an excellent example of her talent. It is also one of the early films for Yimou Zhang, who also directed Gong Li in Curse of the Golden Flower. He shows the promise of a great director in this film.

There is not much that is pleasant her. Ju Dou (Gong Li) is bought by an evil man who has beaten two wives to death for not bearing him a son. She is beaten mercilessly and he has constant sex with her to have a son.

The problem is not his wives, but him, and she has a son secretly with his nephew (Baotian Li). It saves her life, but matters continue to get more and more complicated until the final tragedy.

One of the really interesting features of the film is the Chinese funeral ritual.

The film is a great example of the early work of two great talents, but do not think that early means weak, as they were bother strong from the beginning.


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Details

Country:

China | Japan

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

April 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ju Dou See more »

Filming Locations:

China

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,300, 10 March 1991

Gross USA:

$1,986,433

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,986,433
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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