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Pavilion of Women

3.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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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.

Special Features

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

  • 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)
    • Dubbed: French
    • 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 Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2002
    • Run Time: 116 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B00005RHG5
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,549 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Pavilion of Women" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 31, 2003
    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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    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.
    3 Comments 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    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.
    Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    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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    Format: DVD
    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 the viewer's interest to read the book. Who in God's name wrote this script? I am a fan of Pearl S. Buck and in particular of this novel, and the only thing that consoles me is the fact that the author is already dead and did not have to watch what was made of this beautifully written and most of all wise book.

    In this film Madame Wu is degraded to a woman who is not remarkable about anything and who is illuminated and brought to the path of "civilization" by Brother André, the advanced US American (in the book he was an Italian priest). Pearl S. Buck's approach, which she preached throughout most of her books, that different nations and cultures ought to learn from one another is eroded here through the blatant superiority of the US American, the hero, the selfless saviour, neglecting among other things the fact that he later seduces Madame Wu to adultery and thus breaks his own oath of celibacy.
    Madame Wu's husband is nothing but the typical brutal macho no woman would want to be married to, while his son Fengmo and his second wife Ch'iuming are the romantic, unhappy couple separated by convention and which can only find together thank to the intervention of the wise US American, thus leaving the evil Chinese conventions behind them. And where, by the way, are their other three sons and their wives, which gave the book its title? I guess the authors couldn't find clichés that would have fitted to them.
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