Temptress Moon

  • 1996
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama, Historical, Romance

Old and new China clash when westernized Zhongliang (Leslie Cheung), a Shanghai gigolo who seduces and blackmails wealthy women, returns to the traditional rural plantation where he once briefly lived with his older sister Xiuyi (He Saifei). For the first time in family history, the Pang family holdings are being administered by a woman, beautiful opium...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Old and new China clash when westernized Zhongliang (Leslie Cheung), a Shanghai gigolo who seduces and blackmails wealthy women, returns to the traditional rural plantation where he once briefly lived with his older sister Xiuyi (He Saifei). For the first

time in family history, the Pang family holdings are being administered by a woman, beautiful opium addict Ruyi (Gong Li), with the face-saving assistance of country cousin Duanwu (Kevin Lin), who secretly loves her. The dark story behind this sad state of affairs: rightful male heir Zhengda (Zhou Yemang) is brain-damaged, the legacy of a mysterious incident years earlier -- the same incident that sent Zhongliang fleeing under cover of darkness. Lust, betrayal, dark family secrets and opium addiction all conspire bring the situation to a tragic conclusion, but not before we've had ample

opportunity to revel in the lavish appointments of the opulent Pang estate. Like Zhang Yimou, whose SHANGHAI TRIAD is also set in the 1920s, Chen Kaige uses the conventions of the gangster movie to fashion an oblique examination of Chinese politics and attitudes. The PRC government wasn't fooled: The film was banned at home (Chen's YELLOW EARTH, LIFE ON A STRING and FAREWELL, MY CONCUBINE all had bureaucratic problems), but okayed for release abroad. Though awkwardly structured and a bit opaque, the film's lush beauty is darkly seductive.

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  • Released: 1996
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Old and new China clash when westernized Zhongliang (Leslie Cheung), a Shanghai gigolo who seduces and blackmails wealthy women, returns to the traditional rural plantation where he once briefly lived with his older sister Xiuyi (He Saifei). For the first… (more)

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