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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.
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
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