In the 1920s, a well-educated young woman becomes the fourth wife of a powerful, wealthy Chinese lord. Each of his wives lives in a separate building in the compound, and the master indicates which one he will sleep with that night by having a red lantern hung over her door. Power struggles between the women are of course intense, and our young heroine has to learn how to maneuver through this thicket of intrigue. The movie could be taken as a parable for any sort of unequal power relation (capitalist boss and workers, for example) as much as a portrait of a specific place and time. It is beautifully shot, and Gong Li is both painfully gorgeous and superb in her acting of this tragic story.
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The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus