Raise the Red Lantern

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Raise the Red Lantern is a movie that kidnaps you to a foreign place and immerses you completely with new traditions. The story follows young Songhian whom is forced by her mother to get married to a rich man. In his household, she becomes the Forth Mistress, and the youngest among her husband's wives. Songhian and the audience quickly learn the rules of the Master's beautifully designed compound, whichever wife the Master currently favors is graced by his attention, lavish foot massages, and many brillantly lit red lanterns. The women's jelousy and greed fuel, the competition among the wives for the Master's good favors, and the polite battle becomes intense, and soon Songhian is tangled up in a fierce battle for the red lanterns. What starts out as harmless bickering soon turns to intrigue, backstabbing, and worse. The shifting alliances and worsening guilt of the women caught in a golden cage while they are fighting for a man they. The lack of any true human emotion couples with the absence of a wedding reception to create an impersonal atmosphere that prevails throughout the film. Every evening, a red lantern is lit in front of the courtyard of the wife Chen chooses to sleep with. Contrary to it's traditional symbolism red is anything but festive in this film. There is no love among the wives only hatred. The relationships between Chen and his wives are purely sexual. Rather than helping each other out and raising their status within the family, the wives are constantly fighting among themselves to win many favors from Chen. The wives who live in separate houses must compete for the affections and privileges of the master in accordance with his customs. Jealousy abounds between the wives and the scheming keeps the tensions high. Each night many red lanterns are lit in favor of whom the master will be with, just to signal the other concubines that they will not enjoy the master's favor this night.

The portrayal of female relations is...
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