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Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

Curse of the Golden Flower

A.K.A. The City of Golden Armor
Chinese Title: 满城尽带黄金甲, 滿城盡帶黃金甲 (Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia)
Vietnamese Title: Hoang Kim Giap
Genre: Action, Drama, Period, Historical, Adventure
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Gong Li, Jay Chou
Screenwriters: Yimou Zhang and Yu Cao
Director: Yimou Zhang

China, Later Tang Dynasty, 10th Century.
On the eve of the Chong Yang Festival, golden flowers fill the Imperial Palace. The Emperor (Chow Yun Fat) returns unexpectedly with his second son, Prince Jai (Jay Chou). His pretext is to celebrate the holiday with his family, but given the chilled relations between the Emperor and the ailing Empress (Gong Li), this seems disingenuous.
For many years, the Empress and Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye), her stepson, have had an illicit liaison. Feeling trapped, Prince Wan dreams of escaping the palace with his secret love Chan (Li Man), the Imperial Doctor's daughter.
Meanwhile, Prince Jai, the faithful son, grows worried over the Empress's health and her obsession with golden chrysanthemums. Could she be headed down an ominous path?
Source: Tribute

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: I watched "The Banquet" first before I watched "Curse of the Golden Flower". Thus, this movie reminds me a lot of "The Banquet", essentially both of these movies focus on the same tale that is a tale of love and betrayal. However, "Curse of the Golden Flower" leaves a deeper impression on my mind than "The Banquet". First, the sceneries, costumes, and decorations in this movie are all much grander and more elaborate than "The Banquet". I was informed that the battle scene alone took about two months and a thousand real soldiers to complete and with a budget of $45 million it is the most expensive Chinese film up to date. Perhaps, with all of those special attentions to the backgrounds and sceneries that make this movie so powerful. Throughout the movie I felt I was sucked in another world. Secondly, unlike "The Banquet" I did make an emotional connection with the major characters of this movie. I sympathized with the Empress and earnestly rooting for Prince Jai. Thirdly, this is a well directed movie. Every scenes has a smooth transition into another scene, thus I didn't experience the "lost" feeling and was able to keep track of the storyline. Finally, this movie has great cast. Chow Yun-Fat is convincing as the powerful and ruthless Emperor. Gong Li is captivating as a strong but fragile Empress while Jay Chou effortless pull-off the role of the loyal prince. All in all, this is a must-see epic historical film.