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Ju Dou Academy Award Nomination! 

By Sean Axmaker

Zhang Yimou, the celebrated "fifth generation" filmmaker from China, trained as a cinematographer before he turned to directing, and it shows in every color-drenched, exquisitely composed frame of this 1989 romantic tragedy. The aging Yang Jin-shan (Li Wei) runs a successful textile dying factory and purchases the beautiful Ju Dou (Gong Li) to continue his line, but when his own impotence shatters all hope of progeny, he takes his anger out on his innocent young bride. Gentle Yang Tian-qing (Li Bao-Tian) is the sole employee in the lonely factory and his tender friendship with Ju Dou blossoms into love. When Yang Jin-shan becomes wheelchair-bound, the lovers take their affair out into the open, producing a child that he must claim as his own to save face. The stark drama plays out against the astounding backdrop of colored clothes draped throughout the factory and courtyard, like a rainbow holding out promise of a rich, vibrant world just out of reach. By contrast, the subdued performances hide the inner emotions behind a mask of social control. As the masks are pulled away behind the protective walls of the factory, the fragile triangle collapses as the child grows up espousing traditional values. The film was banned in China, where leaders saw it as an unflattering metaphor for modern Chinese life, a society ruled by a coterie of aging, controlling men.

Academy Awards

Ju Dou received an Academy Awards nomination for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year.

 

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FILM FACTS

Buy this VHS movie from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from Amazon.com! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at Amazon.com - try eBay (see links below)Rated PGNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Yimou Zhang

Stars: Fengliang Yang, Yimou Zhang, Li Gong, Wei Li, Baotian Li

Released: November 18, 1989

Availability: DVD VHS


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