6.9/10
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16 user 27 critic

Feng yue (1996)

R | | Drama, Romance | 13 June 1997 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Kaige Chen

Writers:

Kaige Chen (story), Kei Shu | 1 more credit »
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10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Leslie Cheung ... Yu Zhongliang
Li Gong ... Pang Ruyi
Kevin Lin Kevin Lin ... Pang Duanwu
Saifei He ... Yu Xiuyi (Zhongliang's Sister)
Shih Chang Shih Chang ... Li Niangjiu
Liankun Lin Liankun Lin ... Pang An
Hsiang Ting Ko ... Elder Qi
Yin Tse Yin Tse ... Boss (as Xian Xie)
David Wu ... Jingyun
Jie Zhou Jie Zhou ... The Woman of Zephyr Lane
Yemang Zhou Yemang Zhou ... Pang Zhengda
Lei Ren Lei Ren ... Yu Zhongliang (child)
Ying Wang Ying Wang ... Pang Ruyi (child)
Lin Ge Lin Ge ... Pang, Duanwu (child)
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Storyline

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 <as9401k56@ntuvax.ntu.ac.sg>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What the heart hides, the moon reveals. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some intense images of sexuality and opium use | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Miramax

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

13 June 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Temptress Moon See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$66,471, 15 June 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,084,532, 10 August 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (theartrical release) (Miramax)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

One of its sets was later utilized in Xin Shang Hai tan (1996). See more »

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User Reviews

 
A subtle, contrapuntal masterpiece on circumstance, belief, and the undermining of the human heart
14 January 1999 | by YakSmurfSee all my reviews

When I rented this after reading the pitiful, typically over-sensualized box, I hoped only that it might struggle above tepid mediocrity in some way. In fact, I saw it and despised Leslie Cheung's petty Songlian and his sister Caifei He for the first hour.

Yet then I began to realize how intricately woven the characters and plot were as visual symbols began reappearing, and the movie began to happily shirk off introductory pretenses and reveal the forces behind the characters and their actions. Songlian's pettiness began to reveal itself as an intense and justifiable self-hatred, and that of his sister as terrible hopelessness. Meanwhile the others in the movie undergo powerful transformations as well, as we see how people struggle to bring their own beliefs to bear beneath the tidal wave of external circumstances. We see how they fail, and how their failure propogates their weaknesses, undermining others.

Overall we see the power of the subversive as it plays on the human mind and heart. We see beliefs destroyed at several levels, we see new beliefs emerge, less pure and more calculating. We see regret unfold in each of the characters, or worse, cold numbness to it from enduring too much.

And there is nothing to regret about the movie, except that the subterranean depths of the content make recommendation difficult (this is not a movie for most grandmothers, even though it is still delicate in how it examines its touchier subject matter). Still, it is beautiful in everything it does. The sights, the characters, the transformations, even the twistiness. We rever the characters and their changes, for good or worse because we understand them irrevokably. The movie is highly rich and interwoven. Elements interplay even down to recurring symbols, and by the end we realize that the entire movie is really symbolized in the first ten minutes, even though there is no way we could realize that from the beginning even if told so. Those ten minutes where we see the beautiful Pang estate, and the children, and life so revoltingly innocent at first glance. That is purposeful. What we take for inconsequential initially is proved to be far from it, and really that contrapuntal layering of pretended motive and deeper meaning continues throughout.

Every minute in this movie counts. Every side glance reflects meaning. "The Piano" was supposed to be subversive, sensual, touching and powerful, showcasing how the heart must contend with external harshness. However, it is clumsy, ugly, blatant, and ineffectual in comparison to "Temptress Moon" which tells so much more with so much less, and it breaks our heart unspeakably, but is above the painful, selfish bitterness or wallowing found in "Farewell My Concubine", "Raise the Red Lantern", and "Indochine" which really tell stories half as complex (maybe not Indochine). The characters in Temptress Moon are noble, despite and because of their outer twistedness and rent hearts.

A sumptuous earring, a swinging lamp, fresh roses, Songlian's longings for Peking, and twisting opium smoke and speeches on its merits and cruelties-- all these symbols snake by at first, yet come to how powerful meaning in the end, and they strike us at many levels in the movie, each time richer with understanding. I left far surprised and impressed. Finally, a movie great enough to express itself in humility of pretenses. If only they'd ditch the stupid and coarsely sensual box.


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