Monday, March 16, 2009

Ju Dou

I know that I have to still write the reviews about the other Zhang Yimou and Gong Li films I have watched but I have to write about this movie right away as truly impressed me with a compelling story, excellent performances, absolutely outstanding cinematography and a young Zhang Yimou that clearly showed what was going to come next from him in this visually outstanding film that he co directed with Fengliang Yang.

With a script by Heng Liu the film tells about a woman, Ju Dou (Gong Li), married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill that falls for her husband’s nephew, gets pregnant and the husband believes is his own son. Eventually the husband learns the truth and the most surrealistic situations develop until his death, and beyond this point the movie becomes truly like a Greek tragedy. Incredibly good and fascinating story!

Amazingly outstanding performance by a Gong Li that ages so credibly in the screen that you can hardly believe that the chubby faced young woman from the beginning becomes the lean faced older woman when she gets older. Truly amazing as I believe is not done with makeup, but with the outstanding use of light.

This is a movie done with no special effects and honestly the fire scenes that are over imposed (probably in editing) does not look real but who cares, as this is a movie that deals with colors and this is what really marveled me. As we will be able to see in his future films that “play” so good with colors, in this movie he absolutely plays with hot colors like red, orange and yellow and mixes them with the coolest one: blue. The palette allows the creation of visually outstanding takes, but here I find that the use of color is totally integrated into the story and in many moments the color(s) tells about what will happen next. Amazing and absolutely beautiful!

This 1990 film is definitively a must be seen Zhang Yimou and Gong Li film that if you haven’t seen it I suggest you rush to rent or buy the DVD. The movie was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 1991 Academy Awards and was premiered in competition for the Palm D’Or at the 1990 Cannes; has many more honors in fests and awards around the world.

Definitively this is the most outstanding movie that I have seen lately and one that I highly recommend to all audiences (yes, all audiences) as I’m sure that you will enjoy the movie even when you do not particularly like art cinema.


No comments yet