Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB
Original title: Da Hong Deng Long Gao Gao Gua
China/Hong Kong/Taiwan, 1991. ERA International, , Century Communications, Salon Films. Screenplay by Ni Zhen, based on the novel by Su Tong. Cinematography by Lun Yang, Fei Zhao. Produced by Fu-Sheng Chiu. Music by Naoki Tachikawa, Jiping Zhao. Production Design by Juiping Cao. Costume Design by Huamiao Tong. Film Editing by Yuan Du.
A young country girl (Li Gong) is sent to live in the mansion of a wealthy man to be his fourth wife. In this household, a red lantern is raised above the door of any one of the four wives to denote whom the master chooses to spend his evening with, and soon our heroine realizes that the process of getting the lantern above her door for as long as possible is a fight for status and survival. Her wits are sharpened when she meets her three rivals (all of whom are older than her) and is introduced to a world of Do or Die. Fantastic photography is just the starting point of this incredible journey, one highlighted by terrific acting, a brilliant script, and Yimou’s unwavering direction.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Film
Venice Film Festival Award: Silver Lion