Monday, April 23, 2007

Curse of the Golden Flower

"A typical family Christmas," joked Surfer when we left the Kensington Odeon.

I reckon that any family would become violently disfunctional if they had to live day in and day out in a palace with that sort of decor.

Whilst it's all very sumptuous to look at (and the Ninjas came sailing in on time to keep Surfer from nodding off), one is really none the wiser at the end, except that it seems clear that the Tang Dynasty must have been one of the shortest in Chinese history.

When not focussing on the elaborate interiors and the rather obscurely-grounded familial intrigue that inhabits them, Zang Zhimou's film feels like a dry run for his stageing of the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games. Gong Li's captivating screen presence saves it from feeling massively overblown.

We both felt the opening sequence − which showed the girls of the court rising in unison − might have signalled an intent to reveal more of the social reality behind palace life, but as ever with Zhang, the masses remain strikingly faceless.

No comments: