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Actress Gong Li drinks tea.
The Curse of the Golden Flower


The Curse of the Golden Flower (Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia)


Epic Intimacy: The Cinema of Zhang Yimou & Gong Li

Seasons & Screenings

7 Mar + 13 Mar

A decade after Shanghai Triad, Zhang Yimou reunited with his muse Gong Li for the Tang dynasty epic, The Curse of the Golden Flower

A film of dazzling beauty and scale, Yimou assembled an all-star cast including Chow Yun-Fat, Jay Chou and Ye Liu to play the members of a royal family at war with itself.

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  • Emperor Ping (Chow Yun-Fat) rules his kingdom with the beautiful Empress Phoenix (Gong Li) by his side.  But all is not what it seems in this lavish walled city. Ping stole Phoenix from a neighbouring province and in the intervening years she bore him two sons, Prince Jai and Prince Yu, and helped raise his eldest child, Crown Prince Wan. 

    When the film opens Phoenix is declaring her love for the Crown Prince. He is fearful of the repercussions of their illicit trysts and for good reason. Meanwhile Ping is working to rid himself of Phoenix with the help of a devious palace maid and her father, the royal doctor. 

    A film of vivid colour and technical elegance, Yimou introduces each character with great detail, setting the scene for the intricate plotting and epic battles. When all hell breaks loose, The Curse of the Golden Flower bursts into full bloom with wave after wave of incredible set pieces, each more spectacular than the last. By the film’s end, Yimou spares no-one as each member of the royal court is engulfed in their desire for power and vengeance.

    Gong Li’s portrayal of Empress Phoenix sits at the very centre of the film. Bold, fearsome and enchantingly beautiful, her performance was awarded Best Actress at the 2007 Hong Kong Film Awards.