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Raise the Red Lantern

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Raise the Red Lantern (1991) directed by Zhang Yimou was based on a novel called Wives and Concubines by Su Tong. This film takes place in the early 1900s which tells the story of a woman named Songlian (played by Gong Li) who was struck by the harshness of reality. Her father died during the Chinese Civil War when she was nineteen. Facing the death of her father and the severity of the family financial situation, she was left with no choice but to marry the wealthy Chen family. Upon arrival to the Chen's estate, Songlian was greeted with open arms and was treated like royalty. She later came to the realization that it was just a mere fantasy as she experience more of the traditions and rules set by the Master Chen. The Master has four mistress, Songlian being the fourth, and all was in competition with one another for the master's affection and attention. Each mistress has her own quarter in the castle and her own personal servant. The routine on a daily basis was to stands in front of their quarters and awaits the Master's decision on his sexual needs. Once his decision is made, the quarter of the mistress chosen was lit up with red lanterns. For that day, the chosen mistress is rewarded with foot massage, meal of her choice, and the respect of all the servants in the estate. At first glance, Songlian finds Zhuoyun, the Second Mistress, to be trusting and kind. She laters found out that Zhuoyun was said to "have a face of the Buddha, but the heart of a scorpion." Songlian, yearning for her husband affection, decides to fake her own pregnancy. Yan'er backstabbed Songlian by revealing the bloodstain undergarment to Zhuoyun. Feigning her concern for Songlian's pregnancy, the second mistress requested the family doctor to examine Songlina's condition. Infuriated by Songlian's deception, the master ordered all the red lantern in her quarters to be covered by a black canvas. As an act of revenge, Songlian revealed Yan'er secret obsession with the master and ordered...