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Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

Yun-Fat Chow , Li Gong , Yimou Zhang  |  R |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)

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Curse of the Golden Flower + House of Flying Daggers + Hero
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Product Details

  • Actors: Yun-Fat Chow, Li Gong, Jay Chou, Ye Liu, Dahong Ni
  • Directors: Yimou Zhang
  • Writers: Yimou Zhang, Yu Cao
  • Producers: Yimou Zhang, Weiping Zhang, William Kong, Zhenyan Zhang
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (234 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MRA592
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,169 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Curse of the Golden Flower" on IMDb

Special Features

  • “Secrets Within” behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Los Angeles Premiere

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Curse of the Golden Flower, a fictionalized historical glimpse into the brutally complicated politics of Emperor Ping's (Chow Yun Fat) reign during the Tang Dynasty, shows the viewer just how far a megalomaniac must go to gain and retain power in medieval China. Lavish sets, massive ceremonial displays, and perversely fascinating battle scenes impress similarly to the special effects Americans have come to love and expect from Chinese action films like Zhang Yimou's previous House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. An intricate plot involving the Emperor's wife, Empress Phoenix (Gong Li) and their three sons, Crown Prince Xiang, Prince Jie, and Prince Cheng, most closely follows the Empress's secret plan to force abdication upon her corrupt husband as revenge for his slowly poisoning her with Black Fungus tea. Opening on the eve of the Chysanthemum Festival, 928 A.D., the Empress obsessively embroiders gold chysanthemums to adorn her army's uniforms while hatching plans with Jai to overthrow the Crown Prince for control of the throne. Meanwhile, a side plot develops as the Emperor's ex-wife and mother to Crown Prince Yu reemerges as Yu's lover. By the time the Festival occurs, family members are pitted against each other in a King Lear-ian web of lies that can only result in demise. The most sophisticated narrative aspect of Curse of the Golden Flower is that as the royal family crumbles, the Emperor's death grip on China remains unwavering. Gorgeous scenes set in the palace and costume design displaying China's upper class decadence cannot fail to entertain. The paradox between good and evil, here, is highlighted by how the Emperor successfully rules despite, and because of, his utter cruelty. --Trinie Dalton

Product Description

From the director of Hero and House of Flying Daggers comes the martial arts epic masterpiece whose savage beauty and exquisite elegance has mesmerized and captivated audiences around the world. Set in the lavish and breathtakingly colorful world hidden from the eyes of mere mortals behind the walls of the Forbidden City, a tale of a royal family divided against itself builds to a mythic climax as lines are crossed, trust is betrayed, and family blood is spilled in the quest for redemption and revenge. Starring Chow Yun Fat of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as the embattled Emperor and Gong Li of Memoirs of a Geisha as his poisoned Empress, Curse of the Golden Flower grants you entry into a dazzling and spectacular world of betrayal, vengeance and passion that will change the way you think of martial arts forever.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 0 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex and Visually Stunning February 28, 2007
Format:DVD
This is a beautiful film. The costumes and cinematography are clearly Oscar quality and the best I have seen in a very long time. The sub-titles can be a little tiresome because they distract from the visual beauty of the film, but a great deal of the action is visual and implied through body language. The plot is very complicated and includes incest, betrayal, secrets, and the drive for power. There are enough twists and turns to keep your interest and even a few surprises. There are some martial arts scenes which I felt were a little overdone but there weren't enough to spoil the film. The final scenes in the Forbidden City are truly spectacular and show great cinematography.

The movie is essentially a Greek Tragedy with the outcome one expects from a Greek Tragedy. One is reminded of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, and Orestes as the royal family self-destructs over jealousy, power, and revenge. In the end the King is left with nothing but his power -- a hollow victory.

The costumes are truly spectacular, the screen play well done, the cinematography outstanding, and the acting of the highest quality. I gave the film four stars because I felt much of the martial arts could have been eliminated and didn't add a great deal to the film. Nevertheless this is an excellent film and well worth watching.
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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Recalling the critical reviews of "Curse of the Golden Flower" upon its release, I seem to remember a pretty split decision. There were those that proclaimed the film a tawdry and violent melodrama while others declared it a beautiful epic. Well, in all fairness, it is a beautiful, yet tawdry, excessively violent melodramatic epic. And I mean that in all the best ways! Chinese director Zhang Yimou has put together an eye-popping spectacle of sets, costumes, and effects--complete with his customary flair for dreamlike action sequences and an astonishing color palette.

Telling a soapy tale of dysfunction within Emperor Ping's clan circa The Tang Dynasty (928 A.D.), "Curse" has all the lurid ingredients of a modern-day potboiler. There are illicit affairs, murderous schemes, generational secrets, and gruesome acts of violence. Similar to the setup of "The Lion in Winter," "Curse" brings the Ping family together and lets them attack each other with a refreshingly unhinged viciousness. But while "Lion's" carnage was largely verbal, no such claim can be made with this film. With elements of "King Lear" firmly in place, the pace of "Curse" accelerates so rapidly--you know the characters are headed for disaster.

Central to the remarkable cast is the gorgeous Gong Li as the Empress. As the catalyst of most of the film's action, Li is the film's most pivotal performer. The female center of this "Flower" (which includes Chow Yun Fat as her husband and their three sons/heirs), Li practically devours the role. Full of passion, rage, lust, and plenty of secrets--she has never been given a showier role and definitely rises to the occasion. The performances are so good, so alive, you want to stick with the tale to the bitter end.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intricate and Gorgeous Shakespearean Chinese Dynasty film December 18, 2007
By B. Shaw
Format:DVD
Outstanding! Incredible cinematography, exceptionally ornate sets, very appropriate and well-done music, academy award-level acting, I keep trying to come up with more superlatives to use for the movie! I thoroughly enjoyed every nanosecond of it. It held my interest so well that I simply could not stop watching it, twice! The sets are exquisitely detailed and opulent, the martial arts used were excellent. It is subtitled, so if you are not accustomed to reading English while trying to pick up on the tonal inflections of the actors you may miss much in their performances...unless of course you speak Mandarin. The plot was Shakespearen in both it's quality and its intricacy. The whole movie centers, and stays focused, on the life of the Imperial family and an upcoming coup within it. One of the other reviews noted that the Imperial physician's wife was having an affair with the Crown Prince, but I think they mis-stated. It was her daughter, Chan, having the affair and the mom became insensed with anger when she found out, since she was mother to both...and they didn't know it. There is so much intrigue and a very complex plot, yet somehow so well-written that I did not find it hard to follow at all.
This is an excellent example of the best of Chinese film-making, and I think an outstanding period piece as well.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I note that an earlier reviewer saw the 'making-of' featurette. and it's

a good intro into peeling away the layers of this quasi-Shakespearean melodrama. There's something dramatists like, the theme of the darkness beneath the beauty.

Slow starting, Director Zhang moves faster and faster telling the tale of unfolding faces (in an asian sense) and the complexities of relationships,

veering every so-often in to soap-operatics. Yet with extravagant graphics/ production qualities and a nice pattern of on-and-off action with teary or sneer-y confrontations and trysts, even the maybe too-dramatic elements work well.

One measure might be that in re-seeing, the layers get more intense and understandable, adding weight to the conflicts; a plus for buyers versus renters.

Now, if only a quality version of RAISE THE RED LANTERN would be released, Zhang Yimou's stature as a world-class director would be rightly, finally, established. With his successes this millennium, it might just happen for the man...
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Blu Ray quality
Only problem for me was some of the CGI looking obviously fake (arrows and spears near the end of the movie).
Jun 7, 2008 by Kami Amaya |  See all 3 posts
dvd front cover
Incredibly, this film received an R rating for nudity, and yet there's nothing anymore revealing in the entire running time than that picture on the cover (though there is some visible jiggling when she's running down a hallway).
Jan 8, 2008 by J. Levinson |  See all 4 posts
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