Book Tickets

Raise the Red Lantern PG

Part of Zhang Yimou: A Retrospective
Zhang Yimou, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, 1991, 124m.

Our Screening on 23 July will be introduced by Tony Rayns.

Our screening on Saturday 27 July will be introduced by Xiaoning Lu (SOAS), and will be followed by a discussion in The Garden Cinema Bar.

The culmination of Zhang Yimou’s ‘Red Trilogy’, and perhaps his most accomplished film, Raise the Red Lantern follows an educated young woman named Songlian (Gong Li, once again), who is sold into marriage with the rich tyrant Master Chen. The Qiao Family Compound provides the basis for one of the great single-setting films, a bewildering fortress of walls, gates, and chambers which reflects the maze of political and sexual challenges which Songlian must navigate if she is to survive. Fittingly, Raise the Red Lantern is Zhang at his most theatrical. Here, surface level appearances are deceitful, and every gesture or phrase hides a double meaning. The world of repeated rituals and contests between the four competing wives of Master Chen is both intoxicating and frightening. Prosperity and favour are inextricably linked to performance (that of duties and of identity), often the only course of agency for women in the patriarchal societies depicted in many of Zhang’s films. Winner of the Silver Lion at Venice in 1991, Raise the Red Lantern is finally available to see once again in the cinema.  

Gong Li, Ma Jingwu, He Saifei, Cao Cuifen

Please arrive promptly - we do not show adverts.


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