A masterpiece. The historical dramas of Zhang Yimou, a master "Fifth Generation" filmmaker who emerged from the reopened Beijing Film Academy during the liberal climate of the early 1980s, resonate with subtexts of repression, resistance and retribution. Though Zhang's screenplay for RAISE THE RED LANTERN (based on the 1989 novel Wives and Concubines
by Su Tong) got a stamp of approval from the Chinese censors, the finished production was banned at home while playing to great praise abroad.
Set in a wealthy 1920s Chinese household, the tale has the timeless quality of a fable, as a lovely nineteen-year-old named Songlian (Gong Li), forced to set aside her ...