Raise the Red Lantern, nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1992, is a film by Zhang Yimou about the lives of concubines in China. It follows the story of Songlian, the young and beautiful fourth wife of a wealthy older man. She lives, together with the other three wives, each in their own house set around a courtyard with the house of the ?Master? at one end. The household has long established traditions that the concubines must follow to the letter. At a certain time each afternoon they stand outside their doorways awaiting the Master?s decision on which wife he will favour with his presence that evening. Once the decision is announced by the head housekeeper red lanterns are lit in and around the house of the chosen wife. It?s a beautifully shot film. Yimou uses the perfect symmetry of the house to great effect and the shots of the courtyard that reflect the changing seasons are beautiful and evoke a peaceful atmosphere of routine and stability that stands in contrast to the underlying conflicts between the wives. It?s a well told story. The DVD version that I watched had the worst English subtitles, but even this did not detract too much from my enjoyment.
This movie was playing in a very small theatre when I heard about it back to 92.
I went to watch it with a friend. It was simply a revelation to us! I was so captivated by the story and the way Zhimou directed. Giong Lee was fantastic.
We talked about this movie to friends. A few weeks later it became the most viewed movie in France.
A lovely film about small lives....how interesting can the life of a fourth mistress be when she's confined to the family compound. If you're fascinated by life for the landlord class in early 20th C China then try tis, otherwise try Zhang Yimou's later films.
DATED NOW! Was good to look at when it came out in the nineties
A lot of people misunderstood the beauty of this movie. Of course, this is low-budget movie with no flash and almost boring setting. But, the beauty lies in the way the director uses the limited characters and space to maintain audience's curiosity and sadness up to the climax. This is one not to be missed if you want to see the life of Chinese feudalist community / family in the past.
I have always enjoyed watching movies directed by Zhang Yimou. However, as an early piece of his work this movie lacked the polish and technical briliance of some of his later movies.
This movie was excellent when I first saw it at the theatre - beautiful photography and an interesting storyline. Sadly this DVD version is very poorly rendered! It appears to be a badly made copy of the original film - the image quality is poor and grainy, losing the beauty of the original photograpy. Subtitles are also written poorly - misspellings and grammatical errors abound! Very distracting! Didn't bother to watch more than 20 minutes or so of this version. VERY disappointing, as I enjoyed the original.
Sort of interresting, but no characters to realy like