Not far from Shanghai, in a country town stands the palatial home of the Pang family. Old Master Pang is an addict who brings up his beautiful daughter Ruyi on opium smoke. Her older ...
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Not far from Shanghai, in a country town stands the palatial home of the Pang family. Old Master Pang is an addict who brings up his beautiful daughter Ruyi on opium smoke. Her older brother, Zhengda, is addicted as well, and then paralysed and effectively brain-dead. Zhongliang, Zhengda's brother-in-law, is a successful gigolo in Shanghai who seduces older married women and then blackmails them. When Older Master Pang dies, the clan elders make Ruyi take over the role as the head of the household. Zhongliang returns to the Pang family on the death of Old Master Pang, re-encounters Ruyi, and they are secretly attracted to each other. Wanting to seem sophisticated, she succumbs to Zhongliang's attempts to seduce her. But then an emotional maelstrom follows - for the angry, jealous and sexually frustrated sister (Zhengda's wife) is also part of the picture.Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
As dysfunctional a family as you will find anywhere.
As the story unfolded I began to feel that it had been cribbed from a Russian novel. A set of unlikeable codependent characters feeding on each other's misery. The dark tale of a once powerful family's decadent descent into impotent obscurity serves as an allegory for the Ching dynasty. I only wish that there had been more character development, the minor family member Duanyu, who ended as the head of the family - what was his motivation for his betrayal of Ruyi?
The photography is sumptious, and the performances beyond reproach. The films moves slowly and requires the audience to pay attention, but for those who like a dark tale of pending doom and destruction it is worth it.
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