Monday Movie: Curse of the Golden Flower
In an opulent and multi-coloured Imperial Palace, the callous Emperor (Chow Yun Fat) is slowly poisoning the Empress (Gong Li) under the guise of medicating her. But the Empress suspects, and, when she's not indulging in her strange obsession with embroidering chrysanthemums, she tries to uncover the plot and convince the Emperor's sons to side with her against their father.
Zhang Yimou's extravagant epic of political intrigue and domestic abuse treads the fine line between bold storytelling and melodrama - visual feast and aesthetic indulgence. Certainly it can be enjoyed simply as a display of expensive real-world sets and incredible costumes - but it's also a stark portrait of struggle against implacable tyranny.