Stunningly shot inquiry into women's plight in a hermetically closed patriarchal universe. Yimou ingeniously avoids close-up shots on the patriarch's face and thus de-individualizes male oppression. With a splendid Gong Li women's subordination is elegantly ritualized, yet this makes the surface equally hard to bear as appearances turn out to be deceptive. Impeccable also as a formal exercise this is a masterpiece!
I'm now terrified this gorgeous and subtle psychological drama will be remade into a terrible American blockbuster with Taylor Swift as one of the mistresses. This isn't so much a film about the consequences of pitting women against one another, but a criticism of our dominant power structure and the tragedies — for the four mistresses and a maid — that, in retrospect, are inevitable for all who don't fall in line.
heavy-handed and ultimately uninteresting. The characters are hollow archetypes, and feudalistic China is an exotic, sensational caricature here. If the underlying sense is supposed to be of a modern China still suffocating under the weight of oppressive, patriarchal traditions, Zhang's repressed, monolithic aesthetic is itself the oppressive, hollow old order that should, and has been overthrown in Chinese cinema.
This hypnotic facade, an intricate period illustration of aristrocatic grandeur, is compelling enough to be worth the ticket. Yimou exploits its surroundings with military precision visually defining the concept of a golden cage. But such a mastery does not reflect on the soul of the film. This fails to succeed as a feminist allegation, actions often lack purpose and coherence and a dense fog invades the house.
Una mujer llega a un universo cerrado, dominado por reglas estrictas. Seducida por los privilegios del poder, tomará decisiones de peligrosas y mortales consecuencias. La fotografía de Zhao Fei es admirable y antológica. La abundancia de composiciones simétricas subraya la rigidez del microcosmos en el que viven los personajes. Una obra maestra de gran rigurosidad y perfección.