Ju Dou

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"An Erotic Tale of Forbidden Passion."
  • PG-13
  • 1990
  • 1 hr 35 min
  • 7.6  (8,947)

Ju Dou is a highly acclaimed Chinese film from 1990, directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li, Wei Li, and Baotian Li. The movie is set in rural China during the early 20th century and tells the story of Ju Dou (played by Gong Li), the third wife of a wealthy cloth dyer named Jin-Shan (played by Li Baotian). The story begins with Jin-Shan purchasing Ju Dou from a slave market to become his new bride. Ju Dou quickly learns that her husband is cruel and abusive, and the only respite she finds is in the company of his nephew, Tian-Qing (played by Li Wei). As time passes, Ju Dou and Tian-Qing begin a secret love affair, which leads to a series of dramatic and tragic events that forever change the lives of everyone involved.

Throughout the movie, Zhang Yimou masterfully creates a bleak and oppressive atmosphere, which perfectly captures the terrible conditions faced by women during that time period. Ju Dou endures years of abuse and neglect from her husband, and even after finding love with Tian-Qing, she continues to suffer the consequences of living in a patriarchal society.

The film's cinematography is exceptional, with lush colors and stunningly composed shots that heighten the tension and melancholy of the story. The use of light and dark is especially effective, with many scenes taking place in Jin-Shan's dark and dingy dye factory, which serves as a metaphor for the darkness and hopelessness of Ju Dou's life.

The acting is also superb, with Gong Li delivering a powerful and heartbreaking performance as the titular character. Her character arc is especially compelling, as she gradually transforms from a timid and subservient bride to a determined and defiant woman who fights against the injustices of her society.

The movie's score is also noteworthy, with hauntingly beautiful music that adds to the film's emotional impact. The sound design is equally impressive, with the constant hum of the dye factory serving as a constant reminder of the bleak reality of Ju Dou's life.

Overall, Ju Dou is a profound and deeply affecting film that depicts the brutal and patriarchal world of early 20th-century China. Through its unforgettable characters, stunning visuals, and piercing score, the movie explores themes of love, loyalty, and the struggle for agency in a society that seeks to oppress women. It's a masterwork of Chinese cinema and a must-see for fans of drama, romance and historical epics.

Ju Dou is a 1990 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 35 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6.

Ju Dou
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Ju Dou is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV. Some platforms allow you to rent Ju Dou for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 35 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.6  (8,947)