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A Director Rests On His Technique.
on 28 September 2007
Yimou Zhang is a brilliant Director. He is arguably the greatest Director alive today. His best films like "Huozhe" and "House of Flying Daggers" are most certainly classics of modern Cinema.
"Curse Of The Golden Flower" is not.
In fact the star of this film is the Production Design. Normally that distinction goes to an actor.
My first problem with the film was with the musical score. It was an overly bombastic choral score that detracted from the visuals and performances. Simple dialogue scenes were pervaded by this histrionic music as if commanding the desired emotions at the desired moment. It failed on all counts.
The film is essentially an old fashioned melodrama. Some of the performances take us back to the acting style of the early silent picture days. The Martial Arts also strike a false note. They seem out of place in what is essentially a family melodrama.
The Battle scenes also have the aspect of a computer game. Ranks of CGI soldiers fill every inch of the screen and charge in a very controlled non-human way. This computer manipulation of great armies may make the directors life easy but it strips away any sense of human nature.
Li Gong holds the bare threads of this film together with another strong performance.
Yimou Zhang is resting on his technique as a Director. There are also an extra-ordinary amount of close-ups in this film as if he was making a drama for television. He makes no attempt to try something new. He uses motifs we have seen before. He uses action we have seen before. He uses Special Effects we have seen before. I hope this is a Yimou Zhang we will not see again.