Saturday, February 10, 2007


If any of you plan to watch Zhang Yimou's Curse of the Golden Flower (in Filipino, Sumpa ng Ginintuang Kep***, translation by Gwyn), ensure that you are as mentally calm as a hollow reed that's one with the universe. I made the mistake of watching it last night, a deadline night for the magazine, and left the theater feeling inebriated.

As a story, Zhang's Curse... doesn't measure up as well as his Hero, and I think it's even thinner than his House of Flying Daggers. While the dysfunctional family tale isn't awful--it's good enough for your basic family intrigue film--the character motivations are sturdily one-tracked. However, seeing Gong Li and Chow Yun Fat on screen again was worth the price of admission. (Gong reprises her "powerful woman slowly going insane" role, using the Trembling Palm school of acting. She's just amazing.)

But what the story lacked in depth, however, it compensated excessively in visuals, and "obscene" is the word I'd use to describe the mesh of production design, art direction, and costume design. (Yes, yes, including the generous doses of jiggling female breasts.) Martial arts sequences are minimal, but the climactic battle scene looked like the Asian version of the Battle of Helm's Deep of LOTR: The Two Towers, albeit shorter in duration, and Yimou includes a major twist in the end of the bloodbath that burst a vessel in my brain. I didn't know whether to laugh at its silliness or applaud its brilliance.

Come to think of it, maybe it's good that the story didn't have a lot of depth. If it did, I might end up frothing in the mouth as the ending credits rolled.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


As you may know, the first time I watched it I hated it so much I demanded a refund. The second time I watched it, I actually enjoyed it! Well, I enjoyed seeing the reactions on your faces even more, hehe :) I'm wondering what will happen when I watch "Curse" a third time--will I then become immune, even when all that blood is flying about onscreen?

PS: Watch na Raise the Red Lantern! Much, much quieter...but nakakalukring as well. ;)


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