sugoll (sugoll) wrote,

Curse of the Golden Flower

China, 928 AD. During the run-up to a festival celebrating Family, the Emperor's wife discovers that the medicine she's being given is poisoned - by the Emperor. The film is about how she handles this, and how the family's three Imperial sons react.

It's a pretty film, but where Hero and Daggers were about the glorious beauty of the Chinese landscape, this is all about man-made spectacle: lavish costumes, ornate corridors, vast palace squares filled with ranks of armies and servants - or the golden flowers of the title. And, honestly, the man-made doesn't come close.

The editing affects this, too. Hero was serene, catching frozen moments or observing silent meditation. Flower is choppy; scenes are roughly cut together, and people are continually arriving at some apartment or other (with accompanying announcement).

There's some martial arts, of course, but mostly on a battle scale. And since, for some of the film, it's not made clear who's fighting who, or why, it's somewhat confusing. It achieves its (probably) intended effect - the tragedy of pointless slaughter - but ultimately, that's this film's downfall, too. Why is the Emperor poisoning his wife? It's never really made clear, and loses a lot of resonance because of that.
Tags: movies
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