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Pavilion of Women (2001)

Willem Dafoe , Luo Yan , Yim Ho  |  R |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Willem Dafoe, Luo Yan
  • Directors: Yim Ho
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2002
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RHG5
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,405 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pavilion of Women" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • DVD-ROM Features

  • Editorial Reviews

    Brilliant, two-time Oscar-nominated actor Willem Dafoe (The English Patient) stars as an American priest in a foreign land on the brink of revolution. The peril increases as he is drawn into a forbidden liaison with a beautiful aristocrat and soon they are caught in a gathering storm that will not only threaten their love but their lives. Enter an exotic world of danger, temptation, and obsession in this passionate adventure of destiny and desire.

    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    I remember reading Pearl Buck's "Pavilion of Women" as a child and loving it. I've forgotten the details of the plot long ago. But I do remember it was about Madame Wu, a wealthy Chinese woman who, on her 40th birthday, decided to stop marital relations with her husband and find him a young concubine. At that time 40 years old seemed very old to me. Now it seems quite young.
    This 2001 adaptation of the novel is set in 1937 and was filmed in China and partially financed by the Beijung Film Studios. The Chinese actress Yan Luo not only stars as Madame Wu, but also helped write the screenplay and produce the film. She's beautiful and stately and gives a fine performance. Willem Dafoe is cast as a village priest who runs a local orphanage. They are attracted to each other and the inevitable happens. But that is only part of what the story is about. Basically, it's about the oppressive world of the old-fashioned traditional Chinese family. And the future promise of communism. I read the book a long time ago and don't remember such a strong emphasis on communism. But this film is, after all, produced from a modern Chinese point of view.
    Many critics hated this film, called it too slow and too romantic. And all of them objected to the fact that the characters spoke English. I usually would agree with all those objections. It IS an overblown soap opera after all. However, I found watching this film a delight. I loved the opulent world of pre-communist China that I remember so well from Pearl Buck novels, including the acceptance of the concubine. And I liked the fact that the bedroom scenes were much more explicit than what was hinted at by Pearl Buck. I just relaxed and let myself be part of this fantasy world for a little while. And even though the film was a full two hours long, I never was bored.
    Taste is personal, of course. And even though I can't understand why I enjoyed Pavilion of Women so much, I do recommend it.
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    22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    Do I have to give it a star? Awful, just awful. No other words could describe this terrible adaptation of the book it is named after. It is so far removed from the original that one can't help wonder what Pearl Buck would be thinking if she were alive today.
    The characters are the same in name, only. I don't understand why the screenplay had to deviate so greatly. Mr. Wu went from being a happily married man (who, by the way, did not want a concubine to begin with) to an opium depraved sex-aholic bent on receiving as much oral sex as possible by whatever means possible. Why was there a need to color this man with such depravity?
    The beauty of the book lies in the richness of the allegories that Pearl Buck so intricately wove into the story. Mrs. Wu's love for Father Andre was the love of his spirit and being. It was who the man was and not what he was physically made of. Father Andre was Christ-like in his devotion to his calling in China. There was never any hint of a sexual attraction to Mrs. Wu.
    The recent adaptation of "Mansfield Park" came to mind when I watched this movie. Another disastrous attempt to adapt a classic and beloved book to today's morally vacant mind-set. After watching both of these movies I felt violated and betrayed.
    Shame. Shame.
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    12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Chinese and Western cultures collide in '30s romance September 14, 2002
    Format:DVD
    Anyone who liked Zhang Yimou's "Raise The Red Lantern" is a prospect for "Pavilion Of Women". Whereas "Raise The Red Lantern" explores merely Chinese taboos about marriage and concubinage, "Pavilion Of Women" centres on a romance between leading characters in whom both Chinese and Western mores collide. This is a cross-cultural romantic story adapted from a book by the prolific American writer on China, Pearl S. Buck, set in the late 1930s. It is a cross-cultural challenge to the audience, as much as to its characters. Many Chinese would say that its romantic plot was unthinkable or impossible in the 1930s--which is, of course, part of the point of the story. Western fans of Pearl S. Buck might be irritated by deviation from her book. However, this film has first class cross-cultural direction and acting, and was beautifully photographed on location in elegant settings of old Suzhou. It is a fine example of what the Chinese film industry can achieve in co-production. The DVD has high quality picture and audio, but could be improved with special features such as biographical and production notes.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Love the movie! March 3, 2002
    Format:DVD
    I rented this movie because Pearl S. Buck (the author of the novel for which the novel is based on) is my favorite author.
    I read Pavilion of Women about 10 years ago and I still remember the plot and characters of the novel. I love it so much. I was skeptical when I rented the movie because I was afraid the movie couldn't keep up, but I was wrong. Even though reading the novel will give you intimate details, the movie entertained as well.
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    9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    Format:DVD
    This film is one of those movies you like to watch with your better half on a rainy Saturday afternoon with a large couch and a bowl of popcorn. Don't expect a lot from this particular movie (loosely based on Pearl Buck's book). It would never win an Academy Award, but not every movie is made for such shallow recognition. The Chinese women characters are stunningly beautiful, the location photography is breathtaking, and even Willem Dafoe is pleasant enough to watch in this film. This is one of those movies guys love because it has enough story to keep the girls interested, and enough slow periods where you can get a lot of hugging and kissing in. For that reason alone, I should have given this movie 6 stars!
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    1.0 out of 5 stars A shocking disappointment (spoiler alert)
    There is not much to say about this film but that it contains nice pictures and any amount of clichés: one of the film versions that were badly made but could perhaps wake... Read more
    Published 4 months ago by Skywalker
    5.0 out of 5 stars I love this movie.
    I love the movie so much I bought the book. The book is totally different from the movie as are a lot of movies. Ms. Buck was an excellent writer. Easy to read. Read more
    Published 8 months ago by Bill Poston
    5.0 out of 5 stars Pavilion of Women
    Wonderful movie, enjoyed watching it and will so again. It is now a permanent video in my collection. I always enjoy watching movies based on the works of Pearl Buck.
    Published on December 24, 2011 by shrnrae
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Sight to See
    It was fascinating to see China through the eyes of someone who loved the land, the culture and the people. Read more
    Published on November 4, 2011 by random reader
    5.0 out of 5 stars Received in timely manner, product was excellent.
    Product was better than expected, I bought used copy and it was like new. To date I have been satisfied with Amazon.com.
    Published on May 2, 2009 by Jackie R. Miracle
    4.0 out of 5 stars What could China have been without outside meddling !
    A fascinating film about China in 1938, just before the arrival of the invading Japanese. The film shows the real culture of China in a bourgeois family, how they are divided... Read more
    Published on May 4, 2008 by Jacques COULARDEAU
    5.0 out of 5 stars A MARVELLOUS JOURNEY TO ANOTHER CULTURE
    PAVILLION OF WOMEN (2001) - A WONDERFUL JOURNEY TO ANOTHER CULTURE

    I was pleasantly amazed by this film. Read more
    Published on January 5, 2008 by Fabiana Ines Lopes
    1.0 out of 5 stars Don't attempt filmmaking...
    ...it you have no skill at it. What was lacking? An excellent and thoughtful plot? Well-developed characters? Read more
    Published on April 25, 2005 by VT
    1.0 out of 5 stars So bad...it's good!
    'Pavilion of Women' is an unintentionally hilarious film. The movie is set in China, all the dialogue is in English - stilted English at that (including Willem Dafoe's as a matter... Read more
    Published on December 16, 2002 by Andy Orrock
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