Tag Archives: Chinese cinema

Raise the Red Lantern

Deadly Chinese movie “Raise the Red Lantern” directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li among others. The movie is set in the 1920s apparently during the Warlord Era in China from 1916 to 1928. The story is of Songlian (Gong Li) whose father’s dies young and their family is badly off. She is forced to marry a rich person who has a sprawling house and when she goes there she discovers that she is the Fourth Mistress in the household. There are lots of customs and rules to be strictly followed by the women there. One of the rule is that whenever the masters visits a mistress, the red lantern around her part of the house is lit. Songlian is young and soon she discovers deception, lies, jealousy amongst the other 3 mistresses and she has to further worry about her maid Yan’er (Kong Lin) who wants to see herself as the mistress and has aspirations of her own. Soon the rules of the house proves to be too much strangling for Songlian and she finds out that Second mistress has her agenda of her own and third mistress is having an affair of her own with the family doctor. Songlian remarks that there are no people in the house, only dogs, cats and other animals. Zhang Yimou throws light on the strictly male dominated Chinese society where women are treated like cattle with no regard to their feelings and wants. Music and cinematography are quite breathtaking. Virtuoso acting by Gong Li as the devastated and tormented mistress of the house. Worth watching movie,

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