Ju Dou is the young new third wife of an elderly and brutal dye merchant in a small Chinese town in the 1920s. Also living on the premises is the merchant's adopted nephew, Tian-qing, who is about 40. Tian-qing peeks at Ju Dou during her baths, and can't help hearing the yelling and screaming as her husband abuses her at night. Eventually the two cowed younger folks collide with passion, and she bears his child, which the merchant takes to be his own (for a while). This early Zhang Yimou co-directed film features breathtakingly gorgeous photography -- the colors, lighting, and textures of nearly every shot are astounding -- and the simplicity of a Greek tragedy. It's also an early performance by actress Gong Li, as a sort of fragile, trapped wolf who seduces her "nephew," and she is of course magnificent. The 1990 production was censored and banned in China because it showed a female character rebelling against a male in authority, but official protests lodged by Scorsese, Lucas, Spielberg, and Woody Allen got the film released in the West.
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The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus