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Curse of the Golden Flower

Gonglicurseofgoldenflower The trades have weighed in on China's submission for the Oscar, Curse of the Golden Flower, Zhang Yimou's latest, which enjoyably pits the mighty Gong Li against powerful rival Chow Yun Fat. Although this lavish royal melodrama is unlikely to be a critics' darling (Screen International's Mike Goodridge likes it best), it's one of Zhang's most spectacular entertainments, and as the most expensive movie ever made in China—it cost $45 million—it's a visual feast complete with swooping assassins on aerial wires and rivers of blood. When I spoke to Zhang on the closing night of the AFI Fest, he admitted that not only were the 10,000 yellow chrysanthemums real, but that most of the thousands of warrior extras were too--he tried not to rely on too many digital enhancements, he said.

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