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Chinese Movie DVD: Curse of the Golden Flower, English Subtitles

Chinese Movie DVD: Curse of the Golden Flower, English Subtitles

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Zhang Yimou's latest epic drama. Film and DVD review inside...

Alternative Titles: Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia
Director: Zhang Yimou
Main Stars: Chow Yun-fat, Gong Li, Jay Chou
Production Year: 2006
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio Tracks: Mandarin Dolby Digital 6.1, Mandarin DTS, Cantonese Dolby Digital 6.1
Subtitles: English, Simplified Chinese
Running Time: 113 minutes
Rating / Certificate: IIB
Release Date: 14.02.2007

The Film

Zhang Yimou has internationally made a name for himself with his two epic dramas Hero and House of Flying Daggers. For his latest epic drama he gathered two old school stars, Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li. Curse of the Golden Flower is the story of Chinese Emperor Ping (Chow Yun-fat) and his Empress Phoenix (Gong Li) who try to eliminate each other through secrets and betrayal. Like in a game of chess one twist follows the other. The audience learns more about the backgrounds of the emperor, the empress and their three sons. One of the three sons comes from a past relationship of the emperor.

If you are expecting unbelievable fight scenes - which the exciting trailer kind of promises - you will be really disappointed. Zhang Yimou hasn't completely abandoned spectacular kung fu-scenes from Curse of the Golden Flower, but he doesn't pay as much attention to them as he did with his two previous martial art epics. To me the most interesting fight scene was hence the relatively short one in the beginning of the film which shows that the emperor's fighting skills are superior to the ones of his enemies.

Yimou focusses more on the characters. Especially Gong Li is given regular close-ups in which she has the opportunity to show her different affections. However, after a while this becomes rather boring.
However, I kept the real praise until the end. The abnormally detailed set design and costumes left me with a drooling mouth, especially the female costumes. The whole film is an absolute eye candy.

Curse of the Golden Flower is an interesting film that gives a bit of insight into the happenings of a Chinese palace 1000 years ago. It is far more of a drama with a tricky storyline and a great ending than a dramatic action film.
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