Curse of the Golden Flower

( 7 )


A dying love between two powerful people leads to deceit, infidelity, and conspiracy in this epic-scale historical drama from director Zhang Yimou. During the latter days of the Tang dynasty, the Emperor Chow Yun-Fat returns home from the war with his son Prince Jai Jay Chou in tow. However, the monarch gets a chilly reception from the Empress Gong Li; though she's eager to see her son, her marriage has become deeply acrimonious, and she's taken a lover, Crown Prince Wan Liu Ye, her stepson from the Emperor's ...
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A dying love between two powerful people leads to deceit, infidelity, and conspiracy in this epic-scale historical drama from director Zhang Yimou. During the latter days of the Tang dynasty, the Emperor Chow Yun-Fat returns home from the war with his son Prince Jai Jay Chou in tow. However, the monarch gets a chilly reception from the Empress Gong Li; though she's eager to see her son, her marriage has become deeply acrimonious, and she's taken a lover, Crown Prince Wan Liu Ye, her stepson from the Emperor's first marriage. The Emperor, meanwhile, has his own plan for dealing with his failing marriage -- he's ordered the Imperial Doctor Ni Dahong to find an exotic drug that will drive the Empress insane and administer it to her without her knowledge. However, the doctor's ethical dilemma is intensified by the fact his daughter Chan Li Man has fallen in love with Crown Prince Wan and the two wish to elope. As the Emperor and Empress allow their estrangement to sink into violence and retribution, their youngest son, Prince Yu Qin Junjie, struggles to keep the peace in the household. Curse of the Golden Flower aka Man Cheng Jim Dai Huang Jin Jia received its North American premiere at the 2006 American Film Institute Los Angeles Film Festival.
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Special Features

Secrets within: Making-of-featurette; Los Angeles Premiere
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Curse of the Golden Flower has its work cut out for it in terms of audience expectations. It will disappoint viewers hoping for Chow Yun-Fat to take them on a high-kicking martial arts thrill ride, but if you go into the movie expecting more of a Shakespearian tragedy than a wushu adventure, this epic tale is sure to impress. While it's true that Golden Flower can feel stilted and murky compared to director Zhang Yimou's more enthralling movies like Hero and Raise the Red Lantern, it's still an incredibly textured, multi-dimensional narrative. The opulent costumes and art direction are dazzling enough to keep you transfixed, but as brooding as the mood can be, the story is still eloquent and moving. The twists and turns of who is double crossing whom can get a little confusing, but the film still manages to gracefully run the gamut from an intimate melodrama to a symbolic yarn about human nature. Both of these readings hinge on a plot about a tenth century Chinese royal family that struggles within the confines of the extremely insulated palace through poisonings, attempted coups, and possibly incestuous affairs. All that drama might sound a little too much like a soap opera, and sometimes it is, but the emphasis is on the opera. This is a larger-than-life fable about how the power and isolation of courtly life removes all frame of reference from the lives of royals, so that destructive acts of greater and greater excess and insanity become reasonable. Zhang does an excellent job of imparting that sequestered feeling, making the viewer feel just as confined as the characters, who are almost never depicted outside the narrow corridors, paper-thin walls, and overwhelming ornamentation of the palace. This is the same isolation that fuels a story like Hamlet, where only after their warped hate and paranoia leads most of the characters to kill each other off does the absurdity of the last two bloody hours hit home. While a literal translation of the film's original Chinese title is something along the lines of "The Whole City Is Covered in Golden Armor," the American-release title of the film is extremely telling with regard to the story's meaning. The gold chrysanthemum was a flower symbolic of nobleness and royalty in ancient China, and thus the inherent calamity, betrayal, and misfortune that befall those who wear the crown could easily be called the curse of the golden flower. It's a familiar tale, but a good one, especially when told with such style.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/27/2007
  • UPC: 043396167261
  • Original Release: 2006
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:54:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Chow Yun-Fat Emperor Ping
Gong Li Empress Phoenix
Jay Chou Prince Jay
Liu Ye Crown Prince Wan
Chen Jin Mrs. Jang (Imperial Doctor's Wife)
Ni Dahong Imperial Physician Jiang
Li Man Jang Chan
Qin Junjie Prince Yu
Guo Changhui
Feng Bai
Li Ming
Guo Jiukong
Wang Cong
Chen Xinhua
Hong Zonghan
Feng Dinghong
Chen Xiaoyi
Sun Menging
Zhang Shihan
Hou Jingkun
Song Huiru
Li Yufei
Zhang Jiao
Ge Dan
Li Shuang
Liu Shanshan
Zhang Jihang
Liu Wanting
Wang Lanqi
Hu Pan
Yu Tingting
Li Sisi
Zhang Yu
Liu Yang
Li Lu
Li Jingfei
Ai Lisen
Xi Sailan
Yang Ziu-Neng
Liu Weijie
Zhang Wen
Liu Shabai
Liu Xiaohui
Shu Aiqin
Zeng Yali
Li Junxi
Li Xianjie
Wang Jinbo
Sun Quan
Li Yang
Zhu Guarangyu
Yang Zeyu
Wang Xingye
Gao Yudong
Jiang Houli
Li Geng
Liu Zhengeng
Liu Lianyuan
Shi Renshan
Jiao Lianshi
Cong Shusheng
Ling Daiying
Wang Hongsheng
Zhang Hua
Huo Guangxi
Liu Chunyu
Sheng Honglin
Zhang Yide
Zhang Ziaoqing
Shi Chuan
Mao Yangming
Technical Credits
Zhang Yimou Director, Screenwriter
Dong Chengguang Art Director
Yee Chung-man Costumes/Costume Designer
Wen Deguang Camera Operator
Liu Guonan Asst. Director
Sun Hongwu Art Director
Liu Jianping Makeup
Tao Jing Sound/Sound Designer
Bill Kong Producer
Raymond Lam Camera Operator
Cheng Long Editor
Fu Lulu Asst. Director
Zong Minxuan Art Director
Wu Nan Screenwriter
Zang Qwu Asst. Director
Huo Tingxiao Production Designer
Ching Siu Tung Action Director
Shigeru Umebayashi Score Composer
Zhang Weiping Producer
Sun Wongwu Art Director
Zhao Xaoding Cinematographer
Zhao Xiaoding Cinematographer
Wei Xinhua Art Director
Liang Yu Asst. Director
Man Yun-ling Makeup
Zhang Zhenyan Associate Producer
Bian Zhihong Screenwriter
Ban Zhihong Screenwriter
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Disc #1 -- Curse of the Golden Flower
   Play Movie
      Audio: Chinese
      Audio: English
      Subtitles: English
      Subtitles: French/Fran├žais
      Subtitles: Off
      "I Am Not Your Mother"
      The Empress Medicine
      A Father's Counsel
      The Imperial Physician
      The Emperess' Illness
      Persian Black Fungus
      Finish Your Medicine
      The Prince and the Physician's Daughter
      The Lady In Black
      An Intruder
      Hidden History
      Reward for Loyal Service
      A Father's Treachery and a Mother's Scheme
      The Empress Chrysanthemums
      A Mother's Alarm
      Drastic Action
      A Father Knows
      Chrysanthemum Festival
      The Family Revealed
      A Family Feud
      Attack of the Golden Chrysanthemums
      Final Stand
      The Clean Up
      Not for the Crown
      The Festival
      Offer of Mercy?
      Secrets Within
      Los Angeles Premiere
         The Italian
         Black Book
         House of Flying Daggers
         Kung Fu Hustle
         Chrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
         Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles
         American Hardcore
         The Quiet
      The Italian
      Black Book
      House of Flying Daggers
      Kung Fu Hustle
      Chrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
      Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles
      American Hardcore
      The Quiet
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 25, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Delivers the emotion not reached in Yimou's last two films

    HERO was spectacular and House of Flying Daggers was pretty cool, but this movie bests them with ease. Here we have a more Shakespearean level of tragedy, intrigue, plotting, deceit and sordid histories uncovered, all within one entrancing location - the palace of the royal family during one of China's dynasties. Chow Yun Fat and Gong Li were riveting as the Emperor and Empress, and all three of their sons were also perfectly cast. Liu Ye is particularly impressive - see him in Purple Butterfly, too.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Absolute Favorite of the Genre

    I am going to say right now, flat out, that I love this movie more than Crouching Tiger, House of Flying Daggers, and even Hero - combined. While the movie is lacking in the amount of martial arts action typical of other movies in the genre, it makes up for it (at least for me) in mental stimulation.

    Despite its tragic ending, this movie wraps up perfectly, beautifully, and absolutely ironically. In retrospect, I am often surprised by how much I am pleased by the way this movie ends. It is like taking thousands of strings to weave an epic tapestry, only for the design to come out backwards. While films like Crouching Tiger had me sobbing and hoping never to lay eyes on it again (no matter how visually stimulating, or poetic the story), this movie instead had me laughing even into the next day.

    The story itself is complicated enough that trying to communicate it to others becomes a trial. However, watching the webs of the relationships between all the characters play out is extremely pleasing.

    Naturally, the visual elements of the film play a large role, to the point that you may experience slight discomfort from too many bright colors assaulting your eyes all at once. The fact that this movie got clearance to film in the forbidden city, may well be enough reason to check it out.

    Now, if what you are looking for is an action packed martial arts movie, this is not the film for you. That is not to say there is no martial arts, it is just not the central feature of this film. If, however, you can appreciate a beautifully ironic tale with a (albeit morbidly) hilarious ending, well, you're in the right place.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awesome Visually, but if you are Looking for a Marital Arts Film...

    As most of reviewers agree, this movie is so impressive visually. The coloring of the costumes, buildings, backgrounds, and scenery are amazing. (Especially in HDTV !) I enjoyed the plot and the manipulation of the royal family. However, if you watch action films, you know what is coming in the movie. The movie rolls slowly, but it is interesting to watch as the Emperor and Empress plot against each other, though you see more of the inner workings of the Empress. I definitely was expecting more martial arts in the film for some reason, but that did not happen all that much. Though the few scenes were cool, it did not have the consistency of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" or " House of Flying Daggers". Chow Yun Fat is fine in the film, but I wish he had more screen time. He is definitely one of my favorite Asian actors. His arrogance as the Emperor at times were amusing at times, especially when he was stroking his chin whiskers. All in all, it was an entertaining, visually stimulating film, but again if you are looking for an action-packed Martial Arts film, then go buy Hero or Crouching Tiger !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Kernel of Decay Beneath the Façade of Opulence

    Yimou Zhang once again produces a work that retains his position as one of the master builders of contemporary cinema. His ability to capture an intricate story historically based in a setting of splendor is up there with the great filmmakers. CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER is no exception. The time of the story is the Tang Dynasty, one of the more corrupt and cruel periods in Chinese history. Emperor Ping (Chow Yun Fat) has married a princess from the neighboring province, becoming Empress Phoenix (Gong Li) and in addition to becoming stepmother to the Emperor's firs-born son (Ye Liu), she bears him two additional sons (Jay Chou and Junjie Qin). Attending the palace is a doctor (Dahong Nim) and his wife (Jin Chen) who figure significantly in the family's destiny. Each of these dysfunctional family members has secrets that could destroy an empire. The Empress is clearly the titular head of the kingdom and her wily manipulations and incestuous relationships are controlled only by her doses of a medicine that is supposed to make her insane. The boils on the body of the ruling family fester until great wars break out and the royal family is revealed to be the strangely bizarre group they are. The story works (though admittedly it is often difficult to follow) because of a brilliant cast and a pacing from the director that almost matches the glory of the visual production that seems to keep growing on the screen, like a huge garden bearing more color and moods as the story progresses. Yimou Zhang is a visual artist and choreographer but he is also a man with the gift of finding the cores of his characters beneath all the glorious trappings of this films. Grady Harp

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    Posted March 23, 2010

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    Posted May 20, 2009

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    Posted March 1, 2010

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