During China's Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. Now his control over his dominion is complete, including the royal family itself.
China, Later Tang Dynasty, 10th Century. On the eve of the Chong Yang Festival, golden flowers fill the Imperial Palace. The Emperor (Chow Yun Fat) returns unexpectedly with his second son, Prince Jai (Jay Chou). His pretext is to celebrate the holiday with his family, but given the chilled relations between the Emperor and the ailing Empress (Gong Li), this seems disingenuous. For many years, the Empress and Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye), her stepson, have had an illicit liaison. Feeling trapped, Prince Wan dreams of escaping the palace with his secret love Chan (Li Man), the Imperial Doctor's daughter. Meanwhile, Prince Jai, the faithful son, grows worried over the Empress's health and her obsession with golden chrysanthemums. Could she be headed down an ominous path? The Emperor harbors equally clandestine plans; the Imperial Doctor (Ni Dahong) is the only one privy to his machinations. When the Emperor senses a looming threat, he relocates the doctor's family from the Palace to a ...Written by
Sony Pictures Classics
It took over 20 days to shoot the battle scene. See more »
When the Empress is dressing for the Chrysanthemum festival. Bobby pins and hair pins are visible in her hair. They were not produced until 1916. Chinese are noted with other decorative adornments to hold their hair in place such as combs and other trinkets seen in the movie. See more »
Me and my girlfriend watched this in Guangzhou, China. It isn't exactly a feel-good movie..
It's hard to describe what this film does, without spoiling the movie. And that structure is it's strength. Suffice to say, this is a very strongly woven movie, a movie where direction and production are the stars.
And that is also "Curse of the golden flower"'s weakness. This is, after all, a movie. Moviegoers are used to seeing the full spectrum of a movie; varied scenery and ambiance, multiple stories, realistic characters, a realistic society portrait, and so on. Certainly, this movie has strong characters, but like the imperial court setting, they are puppets. They never change their directions, they are forced to play the drama. Most of the action happens on the same 3-4 scenes, with the same characters. Like an opera; stereotypic, but intensely dramatic and glorious.
That said, this movie had an effect on me, and as mentioned, it is very well crafted. Without a doubt, it shows Yimou Zhang's skills in his profession, and I do recommend it. But don't expect a "movie" in the classical sense, expect Greek tragedy or opera-style drama.
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