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Raise the Red Lantern (VCD) (Chinese & English Subtitles) (China Version) VCD

Gong Li (Actor) | Ma Jing Wu (Actor) | Zhang Yimou (Director) | He Sai Fei (Actor)
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Raise the Red Lantern (VCD) (Chinese & English Subtitles) (China Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 9 - 9.7 out of 10 (10)

YesAsia Editorial Description

In 1991, famed director Zhang Yimou (To Live, Hero, and House of Flying Daggers) teamed up with his longtime leading lady Gong Li (Ju Dou, 2046, and Memoirs of a Geisha) to make his award-winning, critically acclaimed masterpiece Raise the Red Lantern. The gorgeous Gong Li portrays Song Lian, the soon-to-be fourth wife of a rich man known only as "The Master" (Ma Jing Wu). Educated, but forced to quit school due to her father's death, Song Lian chooses to marry a wealthy landowner against her stepmother's warnings. Quickly, her universe is reduced to the confines of a sheltered, dismal home, where her contact with others is limited only to her husband, his family, and her servants, one of whom (played by Kong Lin) jealously hatches plots against her new mistress.

Traditionally, the master lights lanterns outside the compound of the wife he wishes to spend the night with, and since Song Lian is the latest addition to the fold, it seems natural that the master would desire to spend most of his time with his beautiful new bride. However, during their first evening as a couple, the master is forced to rush away to console his third wife (He Caife), and from that moment onward, a wicked game of treachery and manipulation ensues among the wives as each vies for the master's attentions, no matter what the cost. Although Song Lian is not necessarily desirous of her husband, she soon comes to understand that her worth as a woman is measured directly against how well she is esteemed by the master!

Although strong and determined, can Song Lian successfully negotiate this treacherous terrain? Or will she be destroyed by it? Tinged with political subtext, the film provides viewers with a brutal glimpse into the social realities of the early part of the twentieth century. Beautifully shot, Raise the Red Lantern is a poignant, visually stunning motion picture that more than demonstrates the talents of director Zhang Yimou and his then-muse, Gong Li.

© 2006-2017 Ltd. All rights reserved. This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Technical Information

Product Title: Raise the Red Lantern (VCD) (Chinese & English Subtitles) (China Version) 大紅燈籠高高掛 (VCD) (中、英文字幕) (中國版) 大红灯笼高高挂 (VCD) (中、英文字幕) (中国版) Raise the Red Lantern (VCD) (Chinese & English Subtitles) (China Version) Raise the Red Lantern (VCD) (Chinese & English Subtitles) (China Version)
Artist Name(s): Gong Li (Actor) | Ma Jing Wu (Actor) | He Sai Fei (Actor) | Jin Shu Yuan (Actor) | Kong Lin (Actor) | Cao Cui Feng (Actor) 鞏 俐 (Actor) | 馬精武 (Actor) | 何賽飛 (Actor) | 金淑媛 (Actor) | 孔琳 (Actor) | 曹翠芬 (Actor) 巩 俐 (Actor) | 马精武 (Actor) | 何赛飞 (Actor) | 金淑媛 (Actor) | 孔琳 (Actor) | 曹翠芬 (Actor) 鞏俐(コン・リー) (Actor) | Ma Jing Wu (Actor) | 何賽飛(ホー・サイフェイ) (Actor) | Jin Shu Yuan (Actor) | Kong Lin (Actor) | Cao Cui Feng (Actor) 공리 (Actor) | Ma Jing Wu (Actor) | He Sai Fei (Actor) | Jin Shu Yuan (Actor) | Kong Lin (Actor) | Cao Cui Feng (Actor)
Director: Zhang Yimou 張藝謀 张艺谋 張藝謀(チャン・イーモウ) 장이모우
Release Date: 2006-02-13
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Country of Origin: China
Disc Format(s): VCD
Publisher: Bei Jing Dong Fang Ying Yin Gong Si
Other Information: 2VCDs
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1004118140

Product Information

Director: Zhang Yi Mou




  Unable to endure her stepmother after her father's death, nineteen-year-old Songlian decides to leave college and accept an offer of marriage to the old master of the powerful Chen Chan, Chen Zuoqian. Chen, at fifty, already has three wives. Each wife is her own house and courtyard within the family compound. Each evening a red lantern is lit in front of the door of the wife with whom the master chooses to sleep. Songlian soon finds life in the Chen mansion revolves mainly around the rivalries between the wives. She herself is drawn into the intrigues when she discovers that Meishan is having a secret love affair with the family doctor and Zhuoyun is actually plotting to destroy her with the help of her maidservant, Yan'er. Songlian determines to have her revenge......
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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This film has won 1 award(s) and received 1 award nomination(s). All Award-Winning Asian Films

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Raise the Red Lantern (VCD) (Chinese & English Subtitles) (China Version)"

June 17, 2006

This professional review refers to Raise the Red Lantern (Digitally Remastered) (Hong Kong Version)
Zhang Yimou's Raise the Red Lantern is simply one of the most elegantly staged, perfectly lit, and beautifully photographed films ever made. Every scene is meticulously framed and composed, with every single frame worthy of being hung in a picture gallery. But it is more than just a series of pretty pictures. Every image tells its own story, expressing mood, character and detail through the costumes, the set designs, the colours and the lighting. Even though the film doesn't leave the confines of the household for a single scene, even the heat, rain and snow of the passing seasons each impress their own character onto the turbulent machinations and events that go on there.

Forced by her stepmother to give up her studies at university, a young 19-year-old Songlian (Gong Li) agrees to take a husband - but on her own terms. If she must marry, she wants to marry a rich man. Thus, Songlian becomes the Fourth Mistress of the rich Master of the Chen household. She is given her own maid, Yang, and soon learns the ancient customs and rituals of the household. Each night the Master chooses one of his four wives to spend the night with and the fortunate recipient of the Master's favor is honoured with a foot massage by one of the servants, while the red lanterns are lit in their quarter. However, Songlian soon also meets the Master's other three wives, each of them practised competitors for his attentions. The arrival of a new, young and pretty Fourth Mistress intensifies the rivalries and scheming of the other women, particularly the Third Mistress, a beautiful former opera singer.

More than just a beautifully composed and photographed film, Raise the Red Lantern is also much more than just a period piece about ancient customs, rituals and outdated laws such as the owning of concubines. While that way of life may no longer seem to be relevant in the modern world, the film clearly has a point to make about the role of women in modern Chinese society where education for women is still a luxury that many families cannot afford. These themes of the plight of women and peasants in modern Chinese society would be expanded on further by the director in other films like Ju Dou, To Live, Not One Less, and The Story of Qiu Ju. It's less overt here and, due to the restrictions that have led to many of Zhang's films being banned in his home country, perhaps necessarily so. Here it appears to be critical of an old and decadent lifestyle, but at the same time he is being critical of similar restrictions and attitudes that still oppress Chinese people.

Whether the film is considered to have a political dimension or not, it certainly has plenty to say about the roles of men and women, and it is here in the realm of human interaction that the film most successfully achieves its aims. With tremendous force and, at the same time, delicacy, Zhang delineates the power battles between Songlian and the Master, the schemes and counter machinations the Fourth Mistress embarks upon with the other wives and her attempts to dominate her maid Yan'er - a girl every bit as proud and headstrong as herself. The emotional charge of these events is, as I indicated earlier, perfectly complemented and enhanced by the stunning photography and set designs.

What raises Raise the Red Lantern to the level of greatness however is the performance of Gong Li. With incredible precision, she captures the entire character of Songlian in the opening minutes of the film, looking directly at the camera as she expresses her intentions to her stepmother. In her expression, tone of voice and gestures in one single shot, culminating with the rolling of tears down her face, can be read her disappointment at the direction her life has taken and her acceptance of the wishes of her stepmother. At the same time, her headstrong determination is not to be defeated, defiantly challenging her stepmother by agreeing to marry, but only on her terms. This epitomises her attitude throughout the rest of the film and dictates the course of events that are to follow. If you can, try not to be overly distracted by the subtitles and watch Gong Li's performance throughout the film. It's something quite incredible.

There is a touch of soap-operatics and melodrama here to be sure - they are never far from the surface in Zhang Yimou's films - but the director keeps those elements under control, allowing the sets, the colours, the lighting and most importantly Gong Li, to convey with restraint the more florid undercurrents of the source material.

Raise the Red Lantern is released in Hong Kong by Era. The disc is in NTSC format and is not region coded.

As noted earlier, Raise the Red Lantern is a beautiful looking film, in which the use of colour, brightness and tone is all-important in conveying a lot of the mood and meaning. It consequently needs a transfer which will support it, and, thankfully, the Digitally Remastered Hong Kong release from Era goes some way towards achieving that. There is a slight flicker in brightness levels, and some minor refresh rate judder and stutter, leading to less than perfectly smooth movements and a hint of telecine wobble in the transfer. There is also a certain amount of grain in the print. These, however, are relatively minor issues considering how well the magnificent tones, lighting and colour of the film are handled over the course of the seasons in the golden sunsets, blue mornings and, of course, the blazing red lanterns. There is detail, sharpness, clarity and accuracy of tone here, reasonably good shadow detail, and depth in the blacks.

The audio track, retaining the original mix, is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. It's generally very fine, with excellent stereo separation in the instrumentation of the Chinese music, holding reasonably clear even on the higher pitches of Meishan's opera singing pieces, with accuracy in reverb. There is a bit of underlying hiss and crackle, some sibilance and it does tend to get distorted when the loudness levels increase, but, for the larger part of the film, this is an excellent representation of the original mix.

English subtitles are provided and are optional with a white font. There are a few spelling errors and a few sentences that don't quite make sense, but overall it is fine.

The only extra features on this release are the Chinese Theatrical Trailer (3:24), presented anamorphically and subtitled. Even this looks superb, but - be warned - it contains a large number of spoilers. There is also a Photo Gallery of 15 fine promo stills for the film.

Looking back at Raise the Red Lantern in the light of Zhang Yimou's later work, it really does seem to be the highlight of the director's career, most successfully bringing together the political commentary of films like The Story of Qiu Ju and Not One Less, while being as visually splendid, poetic and restrained in its delicate portrayal of the complexities of human emotions and interaction as Hero. It's a film that has long been in need of a good DVD release and this Digitally Remastered Hong Kong edition goes quite a bit of the way towards that, being a vast improvement over the poor US release from Razor. It's a film that really needs a Criterion edition with a new print or a full restoration, but in the absence of any likelihood of that, this Era Hong Kong edition is about as good as you could hope for.

by Noel Megahey - DVD Times

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Customer Review of "Raise the Red Lantern (VCD) (Chinese & English Subtitles) (China Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 9 - 9.7 out of 10 (10)

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January 16, 2011

This customer review refers to Raise the Red Lantern (Taiwan Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Let there be light Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
This was my first movie of Gong Li almost a decade ago and I was absolutely struck by it. Only favouring HKG mandarin movies all those years back, I was pleasantly surprised by Zhang Yimou's production. The story has a slow start but if you're into chinese culture, this movie may help you understand the 'many wives theory' and how wealth equates power.

I've favoured her movies ever since.
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July 4, 2006

This customer review refers to Raise the Red Lantern (Digitally Remastered) (Hong Kong Version)
2 people found this review helpful

Best edition of a Great Film Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
This is a great edition, with clear subtitles, very good image quality, and good sound quality. There are many editions of this movie available that are not good--this one beats them all by a mile.

The story itself is really great.
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June 28, 2006

This customer review refers to Raise the Red Lantern (Digitally Remastered) (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

It's about time!!!!! Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
It's about time RTRL, which is one of the greatest movies of all time, has been given some respect.. I now hope "Ju Dou", "Red Sorghum" and "Yellow River" are given proper treatment....The Remastered DVD is a Must Buy..
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Nice Tambourine
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June 19, 2006

This customer review refers to Raise the Red Lantern (Digitally Remastered) (Hong Kong Version)
4 people found this review helpful

Finally, a worthy DVD Customer Review Rated Bad 10 - 10 out of 10
First of all, Raise the Red Lantern is an amazing film. Second of all, it's only previously been available on crappy quality DVDs. Well, no longer. This new DVD remaster of Raise the Red Lantern is an amazing first: it's actually a good DVD. The previous Hong Kong and Taiwan versions had crappy transfers, plus burnt-in English and Chinese subtitles. This new Hong Kong version is actually 16x9 anamorphic, with a clean transfer and improved colors. The subtitles are removable too. Basically, this is the best version of Raise the Red Lantern available. If you like the film, then this is the one to get.
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Carmen K. F.
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April 4, 2006

This customer review refers to Raise The Red Lantern (DVD-9) (China Version)
1 people found this review helpful

This is a cinematic feast for the senses! Customer Review Rated Bad 7 - 7 out of 10
This was one of the first items I purchased from this site, however, it isn't my first Asian film nor has it been my last.
"Raise the Red Lantern" has all the reasons why I fell in love with Asian Cinema in the first place.
First off, the title is what brought me in. Upon watching the film, I knew it meant exactly what it said.

The movie involves a formally educated, headstrong young woman who takes a stand for her own life by accepting the marriage of a wealthy man. This man who also happens to have other wives.
Now, I was expecting this story to go into another direction, where the young heroine realizes the bondage she's put herself into.
Now, I'm NOT going to give the movie away, because I want others to watch it, but the heroine, though educated and stubborn, does realize her fate, yet, so many circumstances involved in the complex household tangle the plot and subplots, leading to a conclusion that though I was not happy with, made so much more sense and should serve as a warning on the dangers that human nature often put us in.

The subtitles were a bit weak in that the text wasn't clear to read, especially in the lighter backgrounds, but, straining to read them is worth the effort: many of the actors are attractive to look at, and even the secondary characters had strength behind their performances. No acting was over the top. There wasn't melodrama, just a subtle acting and skill that feels honest and that I believe Hollywood has lost.
The colors, the cinematic tones and background makes the viewer understand the environment, that you are there with the people, and not a spectator.
It's nice to see what directors like Zhang Yi mou have done before their films crossed over to Hollywood. Now, Hollywood does hold a bigger budget, and a few times, Hollywood gets a foreign-made film right, but seeing the directors' previous works made in their own studios shows a heart. And that heart beats in "Raise the Red Lantern".
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