A loose adaptation of Hamlet, "The Night Banquet" is set in an empire in chaos. The Emperor, the Empress, the Crown Prince, the Minister and the General all have their own enemies they would like to finish off at a night banquet.
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.
Tao Lan and Yu Xiaoqin are teenage stepsisters. They go to the same high school, sleep in the same bedroom, but couldn't be more different. The first is wild, a bit of a vagabond, while the... See full summary »
Qiang is a four-year-old little rebel, possessed of a pair of luminous eyes and a precociously indomitable will. His father deposits him at a well-appointed residential kindergarten in post-1949 Beijing, since his parents are often away. Life at the kindergarten appears rich and colourful, made up of a variety of cheerfully sunny rituals and games meant to train these children to be good members of society. But it's not so easy for Qiang to adapt to this kind of carefully organized, minutely scrutinized collective life. A fierce individualist in miniature, he tries but fails to conform to the model his teachers enforce. Yet he still craves the reward that the other students win: the little red flowers awarded each day as tokens for good behaviour. But Qiang doesn't win any flowers: he can't yet dress himself, and doesn't play together with the other kids. He even dares to talk back to the strict Teacher Li and Principal Kong when they try to impose some discipline on him. Gradually, ...Written by
I'm disappointed by all of the previous comments on this film. This film seemed to me to be far more deeply layered and textured than previous writers have given it credit for.
Having studied Chinese film (particulary the work of the 5th generation, which this film isn't part of), it's my understanding that Chinese films can't be 'read' in the same way as Western films. Due to censorship in China Chinese directors find different ways of telling stories, more often than not by dressing them up as something else. Therefore I don't believe that this film can be taken at face value. I don't believe this is a film about a small boy being sent to a kindergarten by his father and trying to earn Little Red Flowers. I think an important thing to notice is the way the boy changes. He starts off hating the regime of the school but wanting to fit in, wanting to earn a red flower, but he never does, so he deliberately alienates himself. There are many scenes where he sets himself apart from the group, and he becomes a rebel - he stirs up unrest amongst the other children. He challenges the authority. This seems to me to be deeply allegorical.
I was hoping to read some comments here that would help me understand this film, because I'm finding it puzzling. I found it a very hard film to watch, and I can't say I really enjoyed it. I found it slow and repetitive with far too much emphasis on 'peeing and pooping'. However, I'm finding it a very interesting film to think about and try to decipher. I would very much like to read other readers comments on this. What, for example, is the significance of the hospital? And the children's names? There are many many questions to be answered, and many more to be asked. By my own admission I'm not very good at reading films, but I am aware of what needs to be read!
30 of 34 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this