on 21 January 2004
I watched this film when I was in Malaysia. It was about the last great empress of China, Empress Dowager Ci Xi. This film is one of the trilogy films directed and produced by Li Han Siang.
Empress Dowager Ci Xi is well-known for her cruelty towards to her own son and her daughter-in-law. In this film, it showed how she murdered her daughter-in-law, Empress Alute. The poor girl was hung up to the high ceiling and dropped down to her death. Even the Empress Dowager of the Eastern Palace fainted when she witnessed the execution.
Nevertheless, Ci XI had her way as usual. She had her co-regent poisoined and presided the declining power of the imperial house.
Gong Li in this film played a character of a palace maid who caught the attention of the young emperor, played by Chen Tao Ming (the actor played the character of the First Emperor in the film by Zhang Yi Mou, Hero). The poor girl was sold into prostitution as a result.
The emperor missed the girl and they had met once in the capital. The palace girl was already a prostitute and the young emperor was a regular customer in the brothels.
The young emperor expired eventually and his cruel mother took over the reign again.
A remarkable sad film!. No one can ever forgive the Empress Dowager's selfishness and foolishness.