Ju Dou

1990 | Drama | 95 minutes | Mandarin with English subtitles


In 20th century rural China, Yang Tianqing is returning from a trip selling dyed silk for his adoptive uncle, Yang Jinshan. Jinshan is a cruel man having beaten two previous wives to death and now torturing his third wife, Ju Dou for not producing an heir. Tianqing is smitten with the lovely Ju Dou, but he keeps his distance. One day, when Jinshan is away, Ju Dou and Tianqing make love and Ju Dou becomes pregnant. Initially, Ju Dou  tells her husband he is the father. However as the abuse continues, she reveals to her husband that Tianqing is the father. Tianbai, her child, is now a teenager and he  senses something is wrong. Ju Dou tells Tianbai the truth. The entire household  is now shaken with rage that produces tragic results. Their home  and factory soon go up in flames.

Gong Li (Ju Dou) / Li Baotian (Yang Tianqing) / Li Wei (Yang Jinshan) / Zheng Ji’an (Tianbai)
Why Stream This Film?
It holds the distinction of being the first Chinese film to receive an Oscar nomination.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
  • Cannes Film Festival: Nominated, Palme d’Or
  • Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Film in a Foreign Language
  • The film received a perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes score

Now streaming on:

The film appealed to me for two reasons: First, because of its unabashed, lurid melodrama, in which days are filled with scheming and the nights with passion and violence. Second, because of its visual beauty. The bright colors will remind you of a brilliance not seen in Hollywood since the golden age of the MGM musicals.
Roger Ebert


JU DOU is a juicy and stylish potboiler that keeps the pilots turned on full blast.
Marjorie Baumgarten

Austin Chronicle

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