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Ju Dou [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Li Baotian, Ma Chong, Wu Fa, Zheng Jian, Gong Li
  • Directors: Zhang Yimou, Yang Fengliang
  • Producers: Shigeru Mori, Hiroyuki Kato, Zhao Hangao
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Escapi Media BV
  • DVD Release Date: 13 Oct. 2008
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001EILLX2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 163,001 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

The title character, a peasant sold as a concubine to a cruel old man, is played by the beautiful Gong Li, one of the great actresses of our time who followed this brilliant work with spectacular performances in The Story of Qiu Ju (1991), Raise the Red Lantern (1992), and Farewell, My Concubine (1993). Li Wei plays her master, the childless owner of a dye mill in the agrarian China of the 1920s. Li Wei's fine performance combines craftiness with iniquity. The third character in the tragic triangle is Jin-shan's nephew, Yang Tianqing, a modest man who does most of the work in the dye mill. Ju Dou falls in love with Tianqing almost by default, and it is their ill-fated love that leads to tragedy.

From Amazon.co.uk

Zhang Yimou, the celebrated "fifth generation" filmmaker from China, trained as a cinematographer before he turned to directing, and it shows in every colour-drenched, exquisitely composed frame of this 1989 romantic tragedy. The ageing Yang Jin-shan (Li Wei) runs a successful textile dying factory and purchases the beautiful Ju Dou (Gong Li) to continue his line, but when his own impotence shatters all hope of progeny, he takes his anger out on his innocent young bride. Gentle Yang Tian-qing (Li Bao-Tian) is the sole employee in the lonely factory and his tender friendship with Ju Dou blossoms into love. When Yang Jin-shan becomes wheelchair-bound, the lovers take their affair out into the open, producing a child that he must claim as his own to save face. The stark drama plays out against the astounding backdrop of coloured clothes draped throughout the factory and courtyard, like a rainbow holding out promise of a rich, vibrant world just out of reach. By contrast, the subdued performances hide the inner emotions behind a mask of social control. As the masks are pulled away behind the protective walls of the factory, the fragile triangle collapses as the child grows up espousing traditional values. The film was banned in China, where leaders saw it as an unflattering metaphor for modern Chinese life, a society ruled by a coterie of ageing, controlling men. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By F. Martin on 25 Oct. 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It's difficult to truly do this film justice in a review. If you haven't seen any of the films of Zhang Yimou or Chen Kaige then you haven't really lived. If you're already a convert, then I can assure you that this is every bit as good as Raise the Red Lantern and Farewell My Concubine. A story of family rivalry against a backdrop of imperialist China, Ju Dou manages to be depressing, frustrating and wonderful all at the same time. Gong Li is superb as the purchased wife of an ageing factory owner. Her husband's crippling condition and her infidelity lead to desperate attempts on his part to save face and win over his "adopted" son.
Superb.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Greenwood on 2 Jan. 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this film at the cinema when it first came out. It was beautiful, the colours of the silks, the atmosphere of the village and, of course, Gong Li.

However, this transfer to DVD is abysmal. It couldn't be less clear if it had been filmed with a webcam. The colour balance is all wrong - mostly yellow - and makes the colourful silks a murky mess.

Perhaps the version from Razor Digital Entertainment is better, this version from Escapi Media BV is a bitter disappointment.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. A. Deacon on 10 Dec. 2009
Format: DVD
I purchased this dvd to replace my Laserdisc expecting technology to have moved on - it was a bitter disapointment. Apart from the colours, very evident on the laserdisc, being washed out this dvd version is scratched and very poor quality. A great great film that deserves better than what is offered here. It is NOT an old film and there is no excuse for this dvd offering which looks as though it has been taken straight from a poor quality video.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By will's wife on 6 Jan. 2009
Format: DVD
I wasn't intending to review this but when I read the first reviewer I thought I'd better. I didn't see this in the cinema, I've just watched it on dvd and I loved it. I did notice a slight problem with the colour but it hardly registered and I just put it down to being part and parcel of some foreign films. It didn't detract from the essence of the film for me. There was a special something to this film, i'm not good at writing reviews so all I can describe it as is 'authenticity/realism', whatever that means. I loved it and I thought the actors amazing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Harvey on 26 May 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is drama so strong that you wonder that Shakespeare isn't turning in his grave wishing he had written it first! Because the storyline is so powerful and direct that it has a Shakespearian appeal about it.

A young and beautiful wife (Gong Li) is bought by an aged dyer who abuses and beats her for his infertility which must, of course, be her fault. But she finds a sympathiser and ally in the dyer's ill-used nephew who falls in love with her. Their love produces a son who, in turn, proves to be more of the nature of the evil husband than of his true father. The suspense is driven by the fear of revelation for the young couple and then the fear of the ferocious offspring and of his revenge. The backdrop of the ancient dyeing house, the drying swathes of coloured silk floating from on high and the importance of the ancestors whose very spirits seem to be watching all the secrecy is wonderfully atmospheric.

This is a fairly early film of the masterly Zhang Yimou when Gong Li was new to us and just coming into her stunning beauty (most of us saw her first in "Farewell My Concubine"). The film's age shows a bit in this DVD but oddly for me it added to its charm rather than distracted from it. The soft colour and gentle fading has the same attraction as a worn Persian Carpet or the fragile silvering of an antique mirror and reminds one subtly of some of the disadvatages China still suffered emerging from the Cultural Revolution. If you love Chinese film or the work of Zhang Yimou this is a great film, an historic film, and not one to miss.
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