The lush, regal colors in “Curse of the Golden Flower,” Zhang Yimou‘s new martial-arts melodrama, run like the kaleidoscopic drizzle off a melting sno-cone. Set in the Later Tang Dynasty of the 10th century, the tale of palace intrigue and incest almost drowns in opulent d√©cor, brocaded robes, and gleaming swords. It’s a film for anyone who somehow found the color-guard dazzle of the Chinese director’s earlier period epic, “Hero,” not bold enough.
Mr. Yimou’s trick with “Hero” (and 2004’s “House of Flying Daggers”) was to make over the scrappy wuxia film of old with a sumptuous aesthetic, modulated storytelling, and top-notch talent. “Curse of the Golden Flower” is another such attempt, starring the redoubtable team of Gong Li and Chow Yun Fat as an Empress and Emperor embroiled in mutual treachery and many layers of fabric. [Full Text]
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(Photo of Gongli in film Curse of the Golden Corset)