Curse of the Golden Flower

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Curse of the Golden Flower

Postby LeFlambeur on Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:08 pm

Looks like were getting another Zhang Yimou martial arts picture.

Well, I don't know if the martial arts are going to be as prominent as in Hero and House of Flying Daggars, but that style of violence is defenetly present here.

http://www.sonyclassics.com/curseofthegoldenflower/
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Re: Curse of the Golden Flower

Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:33 pm

LeFlambeur wrote:Well, I don't know if the martial arts are going to be as prominent as in Hero and House of Flying Daggars, but that style of violence is defenetly present here.


with action director deity Ching Sui-Tung, I'd expect some similarities to House of Flying Daggers, which he choreographed as well. Cinematography looks impeccable and damn if Gong Li doesn't get better looking with age.

it's already China's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film @ the Oscars.

Better be better than the dreadful clusterfuck of dreck that was The Promise...
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Re: Curse of the Golden Flower

Postby magicmonkey on Sun Oct 29, 2006 11:13 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:Better be better than the dreadful clusterfuck of dreck that was The Promise...


I've still not seen "The Promise"... but... I've never seen a bad Zhang Yimou film.
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Postby r8hitman on Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:15 pm

:lol:

I thought this thread said "curse of the golden shower". lol.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:32 pm

Last , and best, trailer.

yeah, the size leaves a lot to be desired (said my gf), but it's the motion, baby, all in the motion.

Looks sensational.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Mon Nov 20, 2006 6:48 pm

I just checked to see when this was coming out in Switzerland, and it ain't even bloody listed yet!! I'm PISSED!!!

Yeah I've been eagerly anticipating this since earlier this year... didn't think much of Hero but House of Flying Daggers is a masterpiece for the dance of echoes alone... the rest was just a bonus.
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Nov 21, 2006 2:14 am

It's not even out in China yet. I'm gonna go see this unsubtitled.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Fri Dec 15, 2006 8:57 pm

Mori's review is up here.

little disappointed he didn't really delve into the, from what I've seen, absolutely stunning cinematography and crazy fight choreography, but hey, you can't argue a review that puts the stunning Gong Li as it's focus.

gonna see this on Christmas, which, at least now at any rate, can't come soon enough!
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Postby Brocktune on Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:26 pm

this opens down here within the next couple of weeks.
im all over it.
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Postby magicmonkey on Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:02 am

Will endeavour to see it today unsubbed or not...


(Oh Santa, please be subbed)...
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Postby brainiac on Sat Dec 16, 2006 2:26 am

Oh. man... I love this stuff. Must see... must see...
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Postby magicmonkey on Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:56 am

I ended up having to wait until today to see this (it was cheaper). No spoilers ahead.

First things first, you are not going to be disappointed with this movie. It is astounding in its detail and even Chinese pop idol Jay Chou impressed me with his performance.

The story takes place during the Tang dynasty, a period for fans of the buxom. Corsets crush and propel busoms towards the audience from practically frame one. Cannot wait for the this to get the 3DD treatment. Joking aside, the visuals on display are stunning, the props and set are the most sumptous things I have ever seen. You thought "Lord of the Rings" impressed with its catwalks of armour? Well, this film just demonstrates a whole new league of detail and intricacy that I normally only look for in animation. It is truly a sight to behold.

The action is sparse but brutal, and features great weapons and fighters, that'll have you wondering where on earth these have been in recent films and used to such good effect.

Speaking of effects, well, these are the films only weak point, some of them are not as crisp as those we have come to expect from WETA and ILM, perhaps it is because the detail is otherwise so high everywhere else that they stand out slightly. No where near enough to ruin your enjoyment, but hey, I'm picky like that.

For me it was a joy to behold the emperors palace, to see the place brought to life in a fashion I doubt has been seen before on the big screen. It is a marvel, and puts my trip there earlier in the year into a perspective I couldn't have imagined from its austere wide open spaces. Just the little things like maidens opening and closing door veils like futuristic doorways sent me into geek spasms.

See this movie. There are no heroes here, and watching it may lead to mild depression, but this is truly how period history should be brought to life. This isn't nostalgic, this isn't quaint but it is real drama brought to life by a master filmmaker.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:52 am

so I guess you caught a subtitled version :D ?

magicmonkey wrote:the visuals on display are stunning, the props and set are the most sumptous things I have ever seen. You thought "Lord of the Rings" impressed with its catwalks of armour? Well, this film just demonstrates a whole new league of detail and intricacy that I normally only look for in animation. It is truly a sight to behold.


i'm deleteriously drooling with anticipation.

magicmonkey wrote:The action is sparse but brutal, and features great weapons and fighters, that'll have you wondering where on earth these have been in recent films and used to such good effect.


i've said it before and I'll say it again, Ching Siu-Tung is an action GOD! You ever see his name attached to a flick, be it director or action choreographer, you're most likely going to see at least one gravity defying, jaw dropping piece of action choreography that you've never seen before, and if you have, well, they 'prolly bit it off him in the first place.

magicmonkey wrote:For me it was a joy to behold the emperors palace, to see the place brought to life in a fashion I doubt has been seen before on the big screen. It is a marvel, and puts my trip there earlier in the year into a perspective I couldn't have imagined from its austere wide open spaces. Just the little things like maidens opening and closing door veils like futuristic doorways sent me into geek spasms.


so very very jealous. Fuck, I'm just happy enough to see the Palace on the big screen, and I've, obviously, never been.

good show, monkey...
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:51 pm

well, at least it had the appropriate look of the most expensive Chinese film to date.

ranging from the utterly ridiculous to the jaw droppingly sublime (sometimes within the span of minutes), the film never really clicked for me until Zhang finally unleashed Ching Sui-Tung and one of the best action set-pieces of the year.

magicmonkey wrote:It is astounding in its detail and even Chinese pop idol Jay Chou impressed me with his performance.


couple of goofy reaction shots notwithstanding, he was pretty solid.

magicmonkey wrote:The story takes place during the Tang dynasty, a period for fans of the buxom.


it's funny 'cuz it's true! Chan 'prolly is only a b cup in real life, but cot-damn! Fuck the wonderbras, corsets are where it's at ladies...

magicmonkey wrote:the visuals on display are stunning, the props and set are the most sumptous things I have ever seen...It is truly a sight to behold.


yeah, but while I can watch Gong Li wandering down silk strewn corridors for like, ever, the repetition of the grandeur got to be a bit much.

magicmonkey wrote:The action is sparse but brutal, and features great weapons and fighters, that'll have you wondering where on earth these have been in recent films and used to such good effect.


Sui-Tung kicked off his under appreciated jewel of a debut, "Duel to the Death", with similar action stylistics.

magicmonkey wrote:For me it was a joy to behold the emperors palace, to see the place brought to life in a fashion I doubt has been seen before on the big screen. Just the little things like maidens opening and closing door veils like futuristic doorways sent me into geek spasms.


true 'dat. While I was somewhat bore-noyed with the plot mechanics, it was a beautiful film to behold.

I really liked Chow (studly!), thought he pulled off haughty emperor with great zeal, and while watching Gong Li quiver over and over again got a tad repetitive, she's still my epitome of screen beauty.

Bit of a disappointment for me, not as strong as Zhang's last two period martial arts epics (which both flawed as well), but if you're looking for eye opening eye candy, the film delivers.
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Postby WinslowLeach on Tue Jan 02, 2007 7:23 pm

Cant wait to see this one! Looks beautiful!
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:52 pm

Keepcoolbutcare wrote:While I was somewhat bore-noyed with the plot mechanics, it was a beautiful film to behold.

I really liked Chow (studly!), thought he pulled off haughty emperor with great zeal, and while watching Gong Li quiver over and over again got a tad repetitive, she's still my epitome of screen beauty.

Bit of a disappointment for me, not as strong as Zhang's last two period martial arts epics (which both flawed as well), but if you're looking for eye opening eye candy, the film delivers.


True, Gong Li was either sweating or crying. The thing is that the film is based on a stageplay so the plot mechanics were kinda cast, but I loved the calling of the animal hours each hour of the day, I especially love the hour of the Monkey! (between 3 and 4pm).

Still wish he went back to his earlier lower-budget style of filmmaking tho.
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Postby DaleTremont on Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:22 am

I think the high point of the film was Chow Yun studly taking off his gilt gold belt and beating his son to a bloody pulp. That's how I keep the kids in order.
Chinese film right now is like Hollywood epics in the 1920s. There's something about knowing hundreds and hundreds of extras were on set, in costume, that trumps any digital effects/light tricks/dummies.
Oh right, and then there were Gong Li's breasts. I was strongly reminded of Alotta stick in the hot tub- unaturally buoyant [and this time, they weren't even in the water!]
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Postby havocSchultz on Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:24 am

So what're you guys trying to say...?



Does Gong Li whip 'em out...?

Cause if so - then I'll take the curse of the golden shower anyday...
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Postby magicmonkey on Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:30 am

DaleTremont wrote:I think the high point of the film was Chow Yun studly taking off his gilt gold belt and beating his son to a bloody pulp. That's how I keep the kids in order.


Ha, yeah, "Stop listening to Blink 182 in your room so LOUD"! *THWACK*

DaleTremont wrote:Chinese film right now is like Hollywood epics in the 1920s. There's something about knowing hundreds and hundreds of extras were on set, in costume, that trumps any digital effects/light tricks/dummies.


If only those golden soldiers were too! But, yeah, it was truly incredible to see them lined up in the forbidden city. Spectacular.
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Postby darkjedijaina on Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:38 pm

SPOILER ALERT!!!

Order is nature's first law.

Curse of the Golden Flower is ultimately a film about order and balance.

When the Emperor learns that the order and balance in his home has shifted with an illicit affair between the Empress and her step-son, the crown prince, he orders the Imperial Doctor to begin adding poison to her daily medicine.

The Empress suspects she is being poisoned and refuses to finish her medicine. The Emperor explains to her the importance of the balance between yin and yang as he carefully balances medicinal ingredients on a scale. He commands her to take the medicine and lovingly wipes her mouth after she does so.

The Empress has a spy confirm that her medicine contains poison, and she then plots a rebellion to overthrow the Emperor, with the help of her son Jai. She plans to use the chrysanthemum as the symbol for her rebellion, and plans to initiate it on the eve of the chrysanthemum festival.

Deception and betrayal abound as the Emperor and the Empress each struggle against each other in a Weiqi game to return a sense of balance and order to their own worlds.

The crown prince is murdered by the youngest son as the plot for the rebellion is uncovered, and he tries to gain the crown himself. The Emperor engages in battle with him and defeats him.

Jai and his forces arrive at the palace, and they are surrounded by Imperial troops. The slaughter begins and blood spills over the field of chrysanthemums. Jai's forces are demolished and he alone is left.

The guards escort Jai and the Empress to the table where the Emperor sits in meditation as the servants scurry about removing the corpses from the field and laying out fresh flowers, restoring the balance and order.

The Emperor offers to refrain from punishing Jai if he will administer his mother's medicine himself. Jai bows before his mother and apologizes to her for failing and kills himself with his sword. The Emperor maintains his calm and takes a bite of food.

The Empress throws the poisoned medicine and it lands in the center of the table, directly on the Emperor's crest, destroying it. This is how the film ends, with the Empress and Emperor still engaged in their Weiqi game, the yin and the yang, endlessly in opposition to one another.
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Postby Holer on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:08 pm

Thanks for your interpretation. That is pretty much exactly how I saw it too. What a great movie.
But I'd RATHER watch another movie...
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Postby MacCready on Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:38 pm

Brocktune wrote:this opens down here within the next couple of weeks.
im all over it.


Could you get off it now?
I can't see a damned thing...... :shock:
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Postby magicmonkey on Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:43 am

For a Chinese perspective;

Danwei.org wrote:
Ways of looking at Curse of the Golden Flower

There's been quite a bit said about how bad Zhang Yimou's latest film is: how Curse of the Golden Flower is all empty spectacle, how its skimpy costumes and blood-soaked finale amount to commercialized garbage, and how its social commentary is superficial and essentially irrelevant.

In some ways it seems as if the media was primed to hate the film even before it came out. Huang Huang wondered about this in his review, and critic Zeng Zihang, who is currently attached to CCTV-6, has speculated in his blog about whether slamming Zhang Yimou is simply the fashionable thing to do these days. Those critics who liked the film - or who found something meaningful to say about it - seemed to be in the minority. Raymond Zhou, noted film critic and China Daily columnist, sees the split reaction as inevitable:

Some viewers may be excited by Zhang Yimou's new movie Curse of the Golden Flower, while others may be perplexed or disappointed, but I would say that it is hard not be moved at all. This is quite possible a work that inspires an extreme response, for everyone sees something different in it. Some people will see a Freudean complex (father-killing and mother-marrying), other a false picture of security (the continual calling, noisier than prayer, like a great propaganda machine); some will see an emphasis on harmony (using a carpet of fresh flowers to cover over the scars of battle), others a praise or criticism of the order and rules (the movie's family scenes). Foreigners who are not well-acquainted with Chinese culture will see only a family soap-opera full of coincidences and lifted out of Shakespeare's tragedies (for example, the three siblings are taken from King Lear and the jealous king from Othello, while the scheming queen references Macbeth and the carnage in the palace resembles Hamlet). Of course, they do not know that it is Cao Yu's work that Old Zhang has returned to Shakespearean tradition.

Zhou has been collecting reviews of the movie on his blog and has discovered that the reactions of filmgoers fall into seven levels of understanding:

Seven layers of Curse of the Golden Flower

1. Great movie, very showy and quite watchable;
2. The grand display of Chinese culture - the rainbow-feathered costumes, carved and painted architecture, and Chinese medicine - is inspiring to behold;
3. Dazzling, dizzying, and disgusting;
4. The opulence on display in the film is repugnant;
5. Good fails to defeat evil in the movie; it advocates despotism. The error of this postion is nauseating;
6. The movie criticizes despotism and inspires awe;
7. The movie is an allusion to a particular political incident that can only be implied but not stated outright.

The particular political incident, of course, is what Huang Huang makes reference to in his review.

Some other critical reactions:

· Dou Jiangming, who didn't care much for Zhang's Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, sees in Golden Flower a "mass-exercise aesthetic":

Coincidentally, the setting, like The Banquet, is in the Five Dynasties. The Five Dynasties,
a time of chaos, provide a convenient historical backdrop for the stories. However, in the case of Banquet, the setting was chosen only for the indulgence of the script and effects (the spike punishment scene is a prime example of this indulgence), while in Golden Flower, the chaos worked to remove the feeling of history. Since we find it hard to connect to historical figures with whom we are familiar, if there is an appropriate insinuation (whether or not it truly is), we have an easier time connecting it to any particular point in history. The chrysanthemums covering the palace courtyard, the scene of the warriors facing each other decked out in golden and silver armor, the extras drawn from the army who moved in unison was enough to give me a vision that I had moved in time, back to the grand scene of Tian'anmen at the 40th anniversary of the country, or the opening ceremony of the Asian Games.

Setting Golden Flower at that time gave the film a feeling of being beyond history (but not beyond reality). Chow Yun-fat's emperor was not just some man of some dynasty and empire; he became rather the epitome of "that one" throughout China's grand, long history. And the dark story, the commanding the queen to take poison-bearing medicine, exceeded any particular dynastic backdrop and became a Diary of a Madman-like parable of "canibalism" in Chinese history. Within this extra-historical feeling, criticism of traditional Chinese politics and civilization gained expanded dimension of time (even to the point of having the feeling of using the past to satirize the present; there's no need to keep quiet about the fact that contemporary China inherits that part of the 5000 years of history, too).
...
The last scene of the battle between the golden-clad army and the silver-clad army is completely unlike the scenes of battle with which we are familiar. It is a perfect example of the "mass-exercise aesthetic" style. The camera fixes on Jay Chou's prince as he leads a coup; there are no close-ups of the warriors involved in the coup. The camera is essentially frozen. No shots of their agony and death-cries, no martyrs or heroics. "Cut down like grass."

Jay Chou leads the force into battle like an honor guard - he raises his staff, and the golden armor surges forward, surges to be ruthlessly slaughtered.

Just like a mass-games performance.

Cold-blooded in the extreme.

Dou continues on to discuss the final clean-up scene, seeing it in much the same way as Huang Huang. But he adds a postscript:

I've had this piece written for a while, editing it over and over, and talking it over with friends during the writing process. Yesterday, a friend I have not seen face-to-face for a while said to me on MSN, "If we've spent that much money to tell the public that good cannot overcome evil, then the director is a real bastard." Suddenly, that iciness I felt when watching the film returned, and I once again shivered.

Yes, because of that intentional iciness, I have decided to add this postscript, withdrawing all of the praise I have given to Golden Flower. It is with great disappointment that I finally have found the correct posture I should have toward this movie: turn my back on it.

In a more recent post, Dou points out five similarities shared the recent blockbusters Hero, House of Flying Daggers, The Promise, The Banquet and Golden Flower: (1) Huge box-office accompanied by a critical slag-fest; (2) a mainstream aesthetic; (3) an absolute position with respect to the masses; (4) the main character is a king; (5) the creator is a "king". He concludes:

The creators are always misunderstood, particularly Zhang Yimou, who did three of the blockbusters. Each of his films has sincerely taken into account the opinions of critics. For example, thematically, Golden Flower is the complete opposite of Hero, with its lance directed at those in power. But criticism was just as sharp, and parodies were just as savage.

This is because the Chinese-style blockbuster, born into the new century, bears the unmistakable birthmark of contemporary China. It is being used as a transitional vehicle, at which and anger and dissatisfaction at life and disdain and distaste for the authorities are given vent. This is movie-watching with Chinese characteristics, to take a blockbuster way too seriously.


· Li Yi, who writes for Beijing Youth Daily, does not see the movie as a success, and identifies character interactions as the root cause of the its failure:

The reservations that have been raised about Zhang Yimou mostly center around his narrative skills; his earlier movies were adaptated from novels, so there was a guarantee of quality. Once he switched to original, commercial wuxia, he lost it. This is the most widespread viewpoint, but I think that it doesn't get to the heart of the matter. In Zhang Yimou's films, the role of women is critical....If Golden Flower had been produced according to Zhang Yimou's temperament, then I am certain that Gong Li's role would have been enlarged - this is what the two of them are most adept at. From this point of view, the Zhang Ziyi-dominated Banquet has more of a resemblance to a Zhang Yimou "return" to costume drama. But in the hands of producer Zhang Weiping, Zhang Yimou was not able to accomplish that. With Chow Yun-fat on board, the older male character was not concealed, as in Raise the Red Lantern or weak and impotent as in Ju Dou; throughout Golden Flower, the emperor maintained an aura of strength. Thus the scene in which third prince Yuancheng kills Yuanxiang, though "unexpected," is nevertheless not shocking enough by far. The subsequent scene in which Yuancheng pours out his anguish to his parents over their disregard reflects even more the thinness of the tension. I also feel that Chow's character was something of an impossibility for Zhang; compared to Ju Dou, the emperor beating his son here seems unneccessary.

Actors are crazy, and viewers are idiots. This saying was not originally meant as a critical appraisal, but applied to the interaction between producers and viewers in the mainland, it carries a different implication. In the opinion of the emperor and crown prince in Golden Flower, the queen is crazed, and the medicine lifted out of Thunderstorm is been given an enlarged role in the movie, providing Gong Li with an excellent reason for a performance wracked with convulsions, always biting her lower lip. There are always parallels, and in all fairness Goldern Flower is essentially Zhang Yimou's early film ideas in a more luxuriant mode, and compromised by the rules of commercialization. But this is not a repeatable method, and it cannot establish a model. For a director who holds inexaustable resources in his hands to turn in this kind of submission is beneficial neither to himself nor to Chinese commercial cinema.


Interestingly, even most of the critics who write off Golden Flower as garbage make mention of the power of the scene in which palace workers replace the carnage of battle with fresh chrysanthemums. In his original review for China Daily, Raymond Zhou concluded with the following observation:

The important thing is: Is Zhang Yimou extolling, as many believe he did in "Hero," or is he implicitly critical of it?

That may determine whether this swirl of swindle and swordplay with a sea of chrysanthemums in the backdrop turns out to be a soap opera with a grand budget or a grand opera with a disturbing political message.

Links and Sources

* China Daily: Curse of the epic (Raymond Zhou)
* Raymond Zhou's Sohu blog (Chinese): Golden Flower hides murderous intent
* Not Just Movies (Chinese): Golden Flower' deliberate calculation
* Zeng Zihang's blog (Chinese): Is cursing Zhang Yimou in fashion?
* Code ly884 (Chinese): Actors in Golden Flower are crazy, viewers are idiots
* Dou Jiangming's blog (Chinese): Extreme - Curse of the Golden Flower
* Dou Jiangming's blog (Chinese): The most mammoth, most fantastic lead of the last decade
* Image from Old Imprints
* China Machete: Reactions to Curse of the Golden Jacket
* Peijin Chen on Shanghaiist: Movie Review: Curse of the Golden Flower

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Postby Tyrone_Shoelaces on Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:45 pm

I skipped the SuperBowl and went to a screening of Curse of The Golden Flower and enjoyed the hell out of it. Maybe I'm a sucker for spectacle but the scale of the costumes and sets was amazing. I liked the performances. Probably the most grim and gruff I've seen Chow. I agree with the notion that the film is about balance and order but I didn't really see it as a battle of good vs. evil. The Emperor sees the proper balance as him being Emperor and everyone else subservient. He apparently worked hard to scheme and murder his way to the throne and so wants to keep it. It seemed to me to be more political gamesmanship than anything else. Period costume intrigue. With some spectacular swordplay.
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Postby The Garbage Man on Wed Feb 07, 2007 7:46 pm

Tyrone_Shoelaces wrote:I skipped the SuperBowl and went to a screening of Curse of The Golden Flower and enjoyed the hell out of it. Maybe I'm a sucker for spectacle but the scale of the costumes and sets was amazing. I liked the performances. Probably the most grim and gruff I've seen Chow. I agree with the notion that the film is about balance and order but I didn't really see it as a battle of good vs. evil. The Emperor sees the proper balance as him being Emperor and everyone else subservient. He apparently worked hard to scheme and murder his way to the throne and so wants to keep it. It seemed to me to be more political gamesmanship than anything else. Period costume intrigue. With some spectacular swordplay.


What he said.

I liked it, and it was nice to see Chow do something other than the "quiet, noble warrior" bit for once. Like Tyrone, I was blown away by the spectacle of it all and even when the twists weren't so twisty I was still pulled in by the performances.

P.S. Gong Li is teh sexah.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:47 am

For some reason I missed this thread and movie completely! I look forward to the DVD (or UK theatrical release). It looks mad... thanks for the spoiler free review MM. :)
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Postby Tubbs Tattsyrup on Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:14 pm

Saw it a couple nights ago. I thought it was fricking opulent and gorgeous as hell, and the political intrigue was...intriguing - but spent too long in "A Day At The Palace" mode near the start. So, yeah. Thought the ninjas were a little over the top, as well.
On YouTube or Vimeo.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue May 29, 2007 4:04 am

I guess this pretty much says it all for me... (edited down)
magicmonkey wrote:For a Chinese perspective;

Danwei.org wrote:There's been quite a bit said about how bad Zhang Yimou's latest film is: how Curse of the Golden Flower is all empty spectacle, how its skimpy costumes and blood-soaked finale amount to commercialized garbage, and how its social commentary is superficial and essentially irrelevant.

[...]

The reservations that have been raised about Zhang Yimou mostly center around his narrative skills; his earlier movies were adaptated from novels, so there was a guarantee of quality. Once he switched to original, commercial wuxia, he lost it. This is the most widespread viewpoint, but I think that it doesn't get to the heart of the matter. In Zhang Yimou's films, the role of women is critical....If Golden Flower had been produced according to Zhang Yimou's temperament, then I am certain that Gong Li's role would have been enlarged - this is what the two of them are most adept at. From this point of view, the Zhang Ziyi-dominated Banquet has more of a resemblance to a Zhang Yimou "return" to costume drama. But in the hands of producer Zhang Weiping, Zhang Yimou was not able to accomplish that. With Chow Yun-studly on board, the older male character was not concealed, as in Raise the Red Lantern or weak and impotent as in Ju Dou; throughout Golden Flower, the emperor maintained an aura of strength. *SPOILER* Thus the scene in which third prince Yuancheng kills Yuanxiang, though "unexpected," is nevertheless not shocking enough by far. The subsequent scene in which Yuancheng pours out his anguish to his parents over their disregard reflects even more the thinness of the tension. I also feel that Chow's character was something of an impossibility for Zhang; compared to Ju Dou, the emperor beating his son here seems unneccessary.

[...]

Goldern Flower is essentially Zhang Yimou's early film ideas in a more luxuriant mode, and compromised by the rules of commercialization. But this is not a repeatable method, and it cannot establish a model. For a director who holds inexaustable resources in his hands to turn in this kind of submission is beneficial neither to himself nor to Chinese commercial cinema.


Interestingly, even most of the critics who write off Golden Flower as garbage make mention of the power of the scene in which palace workers replace the carnage of battle with fresh chrysanthemums.

[...]



SPOILER!!!!




Plus I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the Emperor was poisoning the Empress in the first place... I mean, the event that essentially drives the entire film gets no explanation? Or did I miss something?




END SPOILER


4/10
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Postby Peven on Tue May 29, 2007 12:35 pm

yes, Pacino, you missed the point. the Emperor was poisoning her for cheating on him with his own son. try not to get so stoned the next time you watch a movie with a plot. :P
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue May 29, 2007 4:39 pm

Well she'd been cheating on him for three years before he decided to change her medicine's formula... in any case, I figured it was because of some power struggle between the two. Still, the movie sucked... and boy do I ever WISH I was stoned while watching it, might've made it more palatable.
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Postby Brocktune on Tue May 29, 2007 5:18 pm

Pacino86845 wrote:and boy do I ever WISH I was stoned while watching it, might've made it more palatable.


you should have watched it over at my house.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Tue May 29, 2007 5:23 pm

Brocktune wrote:
Pacino86845 wrote:and boy do I ever WISH I was stoned while watching it, might've made it more palatable.


you should have watched it over at my house.


*hug*
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Postby Pillman on Thu May 31, 2007 9:45 pm

I didn't like the final resolution, up until the end it was pretty decent but the end sucked. And the beginning was pretty bland as well.
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Postby Shane on Tue Jan 01, 2008 2:58 am

I thought the movie was marginal. I didn't get into it much, My brother made tons of jokes which made it more enjoyable. Really it did one thing phenomenal, and that was all the crazy vibrant colors. It made blood look pretty. This movie was great eye candy, and I could watch it again, but overall I didn't get into it.
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Postby Ribbons on Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:11 pm

I was wondering if anybody else read into this movie as any sort of political agenda. I personally was kind of shocked, especially after some remarks that Yimou's last two films had PRC undertones, how downright subversive the content of the story seemed this time around. Was it just a coincidence? Am I reading too much into it? I'm not sure how any of Yimou's films play in China itself, and after reading some of the reviews magicmonkey linked, I'm pretty sure I understand even less about the situation than I thought.

The sets and costumes were all sumptuous. More than once I was struck by how ridiculously opulent life must have been for Chinese royalty (a gold-plated bath full of rose petals?), although I'm sure quite a few historical liberties were taken. Overall I'd probably rate it below Hero and House of Flying Daggers, both of which seemed more focused and more unique, though it was nice to see Gong Li again (in a role that was at least more complex than I thought it would be).
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Re: Curse of the Golden Flower

Postby Peven on Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:53 pm

watching "Curse of the Golden Flower", closing in on the halfway mark, this is the film we saw at the first Atl zoner meet up, with DJJ, Lurker and myself. this was such a great film to see on the big screen, talk about sumptuousness for the eyes, i mean, it is worth a watch for the sets and wardrobe alone. can't wait for the last 30-40 minutes.....



.....ok, what an ending, i never get tired of it. excellent film.
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Re: Curse of the Golden Flower

Postby Spandau Belly on Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:46 am

Zhang Yimou is one of my favorite current filmmakers and CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER is my favorite of all his films. I like their artsy delicate emotional endorsement of facsism. COTGF has great Shakespearian style plotbuilding and beautiful cinematography.

I haven't gotten around to seeing RIDING ALONE yet, but intend to soon. I doubt that remake he did of BLOOD SIMPLE will even get released in North America.
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Re: Curse of the Golden Flower

Postby Bloo on Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:21 am

Peven wrote:watching "Curse of the Golden Flower", closing in on the halfway mark, this is the film we saw at the first Atl zoner meet up, with DJJ, Lurker and myself. this was such a great film to see on the big screen, talk about sumptuousness for the eyes, i mean, it is worth a watch for the sets and wardrobe alone. can't wait for the last 30-40 minutes.....



.....ok, what an ending, i never get tired of it. excellent film.



that's one of those movies that's on my list of "I need to see this sooner rather then later"
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