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Raise the Red Lantern [DVD] [1991] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Li Gong , Jingwu Ma , Yimou Zhang    DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details). Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Actors: Li Gong, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He, Cuifen Cao, Qi Zhao
  • Directors: Yimou Zhang
  • Writers: Ni Zhen, Su Tong
  • Producers: Fu-Sheng Chiu, Hsiao-hsien Hou, Wenze Zhang
  • Format: Colour, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: 24 July 2007
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PMFS6O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,519 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


China in the 1920's. After her father's death, nineteen year old Songlian is forced to marry Chen Zuoqian, the lord of a powerful family. Fifty year old Chen has already three wives, each of them living in separate houses within the great castle. The competition between the wives is tough, as their master's attention carries power, status and privilege. Each night Chen must decide with which wife to spend the night and a red lantern is lit in front of the house of his choice. And each wife schemes and plots to make sure it's hers. However, things get out of hand...

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
112 of 114 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst DVD transfer in the world ever? 25 Mar 2006
By Malarki
Just to add my voice to those many on the US Amazon site and the one other review of the DVD on the UK site, this transfer to DVD is truly aweful! Pirated DVDs filmed in cinemas on shakey handhelds have better picture and sound quality and the subtitles are laughable (the spelling isn't even consistent where they actually use the correct words!). The picture was scratchy, like watching a well used print at a rep cinema on a late night showing, the sound was distorted at times as recording levels don't seem to have been checked and there were lots of pops and clicks. This is very disappointing as I've been waiting for years for a DVD edition, then have to order it from the US and then when I get to show it to my friends who I've been raving about the film to, the experience of what should be one of the most beauitfully shot and truly tragic films is ruined. Can't someone in the UK put out a digitally remastered version? Or at least a decent quality transfer? Artifical Eye? This is cinema not a movie.
For the time being stick to the VHS version until someone releases a decent DVD of this great cinematic experience.
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79 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, very very poor DVD quality 25 Mar 2006
I was very disappointed when I received this DVD.
This five star movie deserves a better DVD quality.
Bad translations, bad color and "snowy" pictures.
I own a VHS copy of this film which is better than this DVD.
Don't buy this release, wait for a better one!!!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply stunning. 23 April 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This must be one of the most refined and elegant Chinese films ever made. A beautiful young woman is pushed into becoming a junior wife of a rich man by her widowed stepmother who can no longer support her and finds that sharing not just a detatched husband but her whole life with her older "sisters" is a microcosm of suspicion and envy. The women in this cloistered world have only their companionship with each other to entertain them but they have beautiful clothes and small luxuries, like foot massage, when they are pregnant. The emotional deprivation becomes too much for one of the wives though with disastrous consequences.

What is intriguing about this film is the deft and subtle way that the viewer is enveloped into the world of the women and confronted with the same dilemma as the new bride to work out who are friends and enemies. As the story unfolds, the Hitchcock like terror underpinning their discipline becomes apparent but for one of them it is too late. I would strongly urge anyone to see this film - mostly especially if high quality world cinema is of interest to you.

It is a shame that the DVD of this wonderful film has been so clumsily produced that it seems pirated but you could always wait for an improved reprint (surely they must do one eventually of such an important item of Chinese cinema) or see the video. This is one not to be missed!
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy this DVD 26 Feb 2006
By A Customer
This is a marvellous film, one of my all time greats, and I waited for this DVD with great anticipation. What a disappointment! This movie deserves better than this shoddy treatment.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Can inevitable and hopeless sadness ever be adequately described? Maybe, but not, I think, by amateur film enthusiasts or any but a few professional critics, and only then if they can tame their professional enthusiasms, can write well and know when to stop. That leaves out, among us amateurs, nearly all of us. As for the professionals, I've read only two or three commentaries by professional film critics that I think do justice to Raise the Red Lantern. Partly, this is due to the utterly foreign, cloistered culture we're observing. Partly, it's due to the intense but withheld emotions and motivations we gradually become aware of. Mainly, I think, it's due to the fact that deep sadness simply can't be adequately described, and the more we try, the less we convey.

Songlian (Gong Li), a 19-year-old student in 1920 China, must leave college when her father dies. Her stepmother arranges for her to marry a rich man as a fourth "wife." From then, Songlian's life, everything, depends on the attention she will receive from this man we scarcely see. The first mistress is middle-aged, serene and cool. The second is attractive and appears sympathetic and friendly. The third is young, beautiful and intensely jealous that Songlian may replace her as the most favored by Master Chen. Each has a maid. The servants reflect the attitudes of those they serve, but above all else, they reflect their roles in the Master's house. Again and again we return to an overhead shot that shows us where the universe begins and ends for Songlian...a stone courtyard with stone buildings on either side and the entrance at the end of the courtyard leading up low stairs to where Songlian now will live.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a decent R1 print 17 Sep 2007
Earlier reviewers have covered some of the merits of this gorgeous film, and lamented the transfer. But the time for lament is now over. This recent release finally captures the visual glory of the film - at the expense, perhaps, of extras (95% of the disc is occupied by the transfer). But a masterpiece so aesthetically complete, and so subtle in its observation of the workings of power, really needs no supplement.
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