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Curse of the Golden Flower

Updated: 2012-06-08 16:36

Curse of the Golden Flower

Curse of the Golden Flower

Cast members:

Chow Yun-fat

Gong Li

Jay Chou

Liu Ye

Qin Junjie


The film is a 2006 Chinese epic directed by Zhang Yimou. The plot is based on a famous play, "Thunderstorm", written by Cao Yu, a celebrated Chinese dramatist, but is set in the imperial court in ancient China.

The Emperor, originally a small military officer, marries a new wife who holds a high position. He plots to have his ex-wife murdered, leaving him with their son, the Crown Prince Yuan Xiang. The Emperor and his new wife, the Empress, give birth to two more princes. His ex-wife escapes death, conceals her name, and marries the Imperial Doctor.

The Emperor discovers that the Empress and Yuan Xiang are having an illicit affair and secretly orders the Imperial Doctor to add tiny amounts of poisons into the Empress’ medicine. The Empress feels dizzy and is aware of the poison, but still eats the medicine in order to not raise the Emperor’s suspicion.

The Empress persuades Prince Yuan Jie to rebel during the Chongyang Festival, the day for appreciating golden chrysanthemum flowers, and kill the Emperor.

The Crown Prince Yuan Xiang not only has an affair with the Empress, but is also in love with Jiang Chan, the Imperial Doctor’s daughter, whose mother is in fact the Emperor’s ex-wife. Yuan Xiang, however, keeps this unknown.

On the day of Chongyang Festival, Jiang Chan and her mother are hunted by the Emperor’s soldiers, and the Empress leads them to a room, where the Empress reveals the true identity of Jiang Chan’s mother, namely the Emperor’s ex-wife. Knowing that she is Yuan Xiang’s half-sister, Jiang Chan gets crazy and runs out, with her mother running after her, and then the two both get killed.

Thousands of warriors led by Yuan Jie charge the palace, but the Emperor is prepared for Yuan Jie’s rebellion, and has hidden a golden-armored army in the palace. The prince manages to fight but eventually has to surrender.

After the battle, the yard is cleaned up swiftly as if nothing happened. The Emperor does not sentence Yuan Jie to death, instead punishing him by forcing him to feed poisoned medicine to the Empress everyday. Yuan Jie apologizes to his mother for his failure to kill the Emperor and commits suicide. His blood spills on the Empress’s medicine, and the Empress screams aloud, slapping the plate out of the servant’s hands with extreme grief.


The film is a kind of feast in terms of its gorgeous costumes and spectacular scenes. Many praise the movie, while some think it is a poor reflection of director Zhang Yimou’s past acclaimed works.