Magazine article New Internationalist

[Temptress Moon]

Magazine article New Internationalist

[Temptress Moon]

Article excerpt

Temptress Moon directed by Chen Kaige

Visually Chen Kaige's new film is as sumptuous as one might expect from the director of Yellow Earth and Farewell My Concubine. But perhaps his remarkable legacy makes this latest work, for all its flair, seem disappointing - as insubstantial as the paper lanterns or wisps of opium smoke that decorate its fictional interiors.

This is Chen's first original script since The Big Parade and it sees him discarding questions of politics and nationhood for a more intimate psychological terrain. The background is 1920s China some ten years after the fall of the empire and prior to the advent of communism. A quartet of interrelated characters negotiate their way around themes of sexuality, desire and gender roles. There's plenty of potential for intrigue - particularly where the film pits the vibrant debauched atmosphere of Westernised Shanghai against the stately continuity of an ancestral provincial household.

With the death of feudal landlord Old Master Pang, his estate is handed over to his unworldly daughter Ruyi. She owes her unprecedented succession to her drug - addicted brother's brain damage. As the unlikely standard bearer of tradition though, she is not allowed total independence and has to manage the household alongside her adoring but gormless distant male cousin Duanwu. Gong Li plays opium - user Ruyi as a powerful but unerringly tranquil and dreamy young woman. Although she's reluctantly unmarried she has a quasi - feminist streak and a sexual curiosity sparked into life by the arrival of the handsome Zhongliang, her sister - in - law's brother. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.