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375 Ratings

Ju Dou

China, Japan, 1990


A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband’s nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband’s heir without revealing his parentage in this circular tragedy.

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Ju Dou Directed by Zhang Yimou, Yang Fengliang

Critics reviews

Ju Dou’s striking mise en scene, melodramatic narrative and allegorical meanings garnered Zhang auteur status internationally. Together with the early work of Chen Kaige, the trilogy became the cornerstone for the opening up of Chinese cinema to the rest of the world, and positioned Zhang in a complex (and later shifting) relationship with his own country, celebrated abroad while his work was suppressed by the authorities at home.
May 01, 2015
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Visually stunning, with ravishing uses of color and beautifully modulated lap dissolves, Ju Dou may not be the most formally striking Chinese film I’ve seen—I still prefer The Horse Thief, which I’m happy to say has recently become available on video—but it certainly is the most effective and dramatic in terms of commercial moviemaking, both as spectacle and as story telling.
April 19, 1991
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