8.2/10
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Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

Da hong deng long gao gao gua (original title)
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:

Yimou Zhang

Writers:

Su Tong (original novel "Wives and Concubines" by), Ni Zhen (scriptwriter)
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Top Rated Movies #245 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Li Gong ... Songlian
Saifei He ... Meishan (Third Wife)
Jingwu Ma Jingwu Ma ... The Master
Cuifen Cao Cuifen Cao ... Zhuoyan (Second Wife)
Qi Zhao Qi Zhao ... Housekeeper
Lin Kong Lin Kong ... Yan'er
Shuyuan Jin Shuyuan Jin ... Yuru (First Wife)
Weimin Ding Weimin Ding ... Songlian's Mother (voice)
Zhengyin Cao Zhengyin Cao ... Old Servant
Zhigang Cui Zhigang Cui ... Dr. Gao (as Zhihgang Cui)
Chu Xiao Chu Xiao ... Feipu
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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 | History | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

China | Hong Kong | Taiwan

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

18 December 1991 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Raise the Red Lantern See more »

Filming Locations:

Taiyuan, Shanxi, China

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,603,061
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Master's" face is never seen. It is either obscured behind thin curtains or out of shot. See more »

Goofs

Around 01:18:59, there is a lot of smoke in front of the third wife. And there is almost no smoke in front of the second one. See more »

Quotes

Yan'er: Who are you?
Housekeeper: Fourth mistress, please come inside.
Yan'er: [losing her cool] So you're the fourth mistress!
[Yan'er rudely pulls the water bowl away from Songlian and puts clothes in it]
Songlian: Yes! I am the fourth mistress. Bring my suitcase inside please.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 8 Women (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

A longer view
24 September 2000 | by hronSee all my reviews

We Americans are accustomed to our fast moving world and our equally fast paced movies but the older countries of the world have something very valuable to offer in cinema, if we can take some time, literally, to consider it. This movie brings that mature stateliness of the old world before our eyes in almost an indelible way.

Moving in a very slow and artfully calculated rhythm, one scene slides into another, each setting a perfect little painting that can almost distract the attention away from the action and the dialog. The story develops gradually, starting out as a situation that is completely unfamiliar to the viewer and progressing stepwise through increasingly familiar emotional territory until even the 21st century American knows exactly where things stand.

The story is absorbing and the comment on Chinese society is important in today's world, but the main interest for me is the mood of meditative quietude and the rather dreamlike atmosphere that is generated continually, until it saturates right through.


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