Tuesday, May 1, 2012
HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT: Raise The Red Lantern
"Hit me with your shot" is back again this week showcasing a phenomenal film – "Raise The Red Lantern". If you are reading this and you haven’t seen it, I strongly urge you to do so. The film tells the story about a wealthy man and his concubines all living under one roof. The story is all about traditions and customs, mainly surrounding the red lantern and foot massages and to a lesser extent, the selection of the dinner menu. These 3 things determine the brief balance of power among the mistresses of the household. To obtain these things, the women play a constant series of mindgames to gain the upper hand. In order to succeed, these women must realize their own unique talents that will please the master. The 2nd mistress gives great massages, Mistress #3 is a former opera singer and the newly arrived Mistress #4 (the lead character played by Gong Li) brings her youthful beauty. The aging Mistress #1 knows she is past her prime and stays in the background. She is very wise however, giving Mistress #4 the most useful advice upon their brief meeting – "Get on well with your sisters. Serve the master well." The other women know this and ensure that a peaceful co-existence is maintained. They know the trick is to engage in subtle sabotage, but Mistress #4 becomes power-hungry and takes it too far.
Click below for my favourite shot...
With a constant stream of beautiful imagery, often containing powerful symbolism, I had many shots to choose from. In my opinion, my favourite shot contains the most significant symbolism. From the time the fourth Mistress cuts the ear of Mistress #3 (the first instance of actual physical sabotage), we know she is headed down a slippery slope. The scene I chose follows the announcement of her fake pregnancy. Up to this point, we’ve become used to all the lush colours, mainly from the red lanterns. You know she has really screwed up when they decide to cover her lanterns, casting a dark shadow over the courtyard. The dustiness of the latern covers further show that this an unusal scenario. Emerging from her recent prominence, she appears in stark contrast with her red dress. Having not learnt her lesson, she stands defiant and continues to manipulate the rest of the household. Of course, if you’ve seen the film, you know the devastating effect of those subsequent actions.