7.7/10
7,486
32 user 30 critic

Ju Dou (1990)

PG-13 | | Drama, Romance | April 1991 (USA)
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0:59 | Clip
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.

Directors:

Yimou Zhang, Fengliang Yang (co-director)

Writer:

Heng Liu
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Li Gong ... Ju Dou
Baotian Li ... Yang Tianqing
Wei Li Wei Li ... Yang Jinshan
Zhang Yi Zhang Yi ... Yang Tianbai as a child
Ji-an Zheng Ji-an Zheng ... Yang Tianbai as a youth
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ma Chong Ma Chong
Zhijun Cong Zhijun Cong
Wu Fa Wu Fa
Zhaoji Jia Zhaoji Jia
Jia Jin Jia Jin
Xingli Niu Xingli Niu
Qianbin Yang Qianbin Yang ... (as Yang Qianbin)
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Storyline

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. This tale of romantic and familial love in the face of unbreakable tradition is more universal than its setting. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was restored in 2017 by French company Impex Films with support from Arte France and Hiventy. This restoration was later first broadcast on October 2, 2017 on Franco-German channel Arte. See more »

User Reviews

 
Forbidden Love And Its Consequences
23 August 2008 | by sddavis63See all my reviews

A very well done story about the illicit relationship between a man and his "aunt" in 1920's China that results in disaster for all concerned. I've seen Gong Li in a couple of movies recently, and it's clear that she is both beautiful and talented. Here she plays the title character of Ju Dou, a young woman forced into marriage to Yang Jinshan, the brutal and sadistic owner of a dye mill, who beats and tortures her, and also wants her to bear him a son and heir. The mill is also home to Yang Tianqing, Jinshan's adopted nephew. Ju Dou and Tianqing fall in love with each other, and have a child, who is assumed to be Jinshan's. The result is tragedy all around eventually.

The story is both unpleasant and yet interesting. Few of the characters (with the exception of Ju Dou) really connected with me. Ju Dou, on the other hand, becomes the object of sympathy right from the start. Her life is horrible, and even the relationship with Tianqing (a gentle and loving one for the most part) ultimately strikes me as unsatisfying, because frankly Tianqing is a wimp. The character (well portrayed by Li Baotian) comes across as childish and immature and afraid the whole way through. In a way, the most powerful (and frightening in many ways) character was the adolescent Tianbai, Ju Dou's son. He only appears in the last third of the movie or so, but he comes across as completely hateful toward both his mother and Tianqing and totally unemotional. It all leads up to a tragic (and yet appropriate) ending.

One thing I really enjoyed in this movie was the depiction of the rituals around Jinshan's funeral procession. That was quite fascinating. Overall, this was an unpleasant movie with many unpleasant or at least unlikable characters, but still quite interesting. 7/10


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Details

Country:

China | Japan

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

April 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ju Dou See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,300, 10 March 1991

Gross USA:

$1,986,433

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,986,433
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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