Raise the Red Lantern

Watch Raise the Red Lantern

"China, 1920. One Master, Four Wives."
  • PG
  • 1991
  • 2 hr 5 min
  • 8.1  (35,495)

Raise the Red Lantern is a historical drama film released in 1991 directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li as Songlian, the fourth wife of a wealthy man named Chen Zuoqian. The film is set in the 1920s in China, during the Warlord Era, and focuses on the relationships between the wives of a wealthy man in feudal China at the time.

The story begins when Songlian's father dies, leaving her with nowhere to go. Forced to marry a wealthy man, she becomes the fourth wife of Chen Zuoqian, who already has three wives. Songlian must navigate the complex and hostile relationships between the wives, as they compete for the attention of their husband and vie for power and influence within the household.

As the film unfolds, Songlian becomes more and more involved in the politics of the household, at times using her wit and cunning to manipulate the other wives, and at other times being manipulated herself. She quickly learns that life in the household is anything but easy, as she is subject to the rules and regulations of the place and expected to perform her duties as a wife and concubine.

Raise the Red Lantern is a beautifully crafted film, with vivid cinematography, stunning set design, and masterful performances from its cast. Gong Li's portrayal of Songlian is particularly impressive, as she brings a depth and complexity to the character that allows the audience to empathize with her struggles and root for her triumphs.

Throughout the film, Zhang Yimou explores themes of power, gender roles, and the politics of the patriarchy. He presents a nuanced and complex portrait of life in feudal China, highlighting the hypocrisy and brutality of the system while also showing the ways in which women were able to exert their own power and influence within it.

As the film reaches its dramatic conclusion, the tensions between the wives and the household's master come to a head. The film's final scenes are both poignant and powerful, as the full weight of the system's oppression and corruption is revealed.

Overall, Raise the Red Lantern is a masterful work of art, a must-see for anyone interested in Chinese history or cinema. Its themes and messages are as relevant today as they were when the film was first released, and its enduring legacy is a testament to its power and artistry.

Raise the Red Lantern
Raise the Red Lantern doesn't appear to be available from any streaming services.
Add this movie to your Watchlist to get notified when it's available.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 5 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    8.1  (35,495)