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Raise the Red Lantern

Raise the Red Lantern is a 1991 film directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li. It is an adaption by Ni Zhen of the 1990 novel Wives and Concubines by Su Tong. The film was later adapted into an acclaimed ballet of the same title by the National Ballet of China, also directed by Zhang.

Plot

The film is set in 1920s Republic of China during the Warlord Era (1916–1928), years before the Chinese Civil War. Nineteen-year-old Songlian (Sònglián, played by Gong Li), an educated woman whose father has recently died and left the family bankrupt, is forced by her stepmother to marry into the wealthy Chen family, becoming the fourth wife or rather the third concubine or, as she is referred to, the Fourth Mistress (Sì Tàitai) of the household. Arriving at the palatial abode, she is at first treated like royalty, receiving sensuous foot massages and brightly lit red lanterns, as well as a visit from her husband, Master Chen (Ma Jingwu), the master of the house, whose face is never clearly shown.

    Cast