Raise the Red Lantern
1991 | Drama | 125 minutes | Mandarin with English subtitles
In the Chinese Warlord Era (1916-1928), nineteen-year-old Songlian is forced, upon her father’s death, to become a concubine of the wealthy Master Chen. Songlian is Master Chen’s fourth concubine.At first she is showered with foot massages under the lights of red lanterns. Soon, Songlian discovers that the other three concubines do not receive the same treatment. They each compete for the affection of Master Chen. As time goes on, Songlian finds herself at odds with Zhuoyun and Meishan, the second and third concubines. Songlian must take more risks to attract Master Chen’s attention. Songlian realizes she will have to struggle hard to successfully survive in Master Chen’s household.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 96%
Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Foreign Language Film
BAFTA Awards: Winner, Best Foreign Language Film
National Board of Review: Winner, Best Foreign Language Film
New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Winner, Best Foreign Language Film
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RAISE the RED LANTERN can be interpreted in a number of ways—as a cry against the subjugation of women in China, as an attack on feudal attitudes, as a formal exercise in storytelling. And yet, it all works because it is so fascinating on the level of melodrama.
A beautiful crafted and richly detailed feat of consciousness-raising and a serious drama with the verve of a good soap opera.
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