Pavilion of Women

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Released 2000

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Pavilion of Women

Movie Summary

Director:
Keely Christian
Released:
2000
Rating:
R
Pavilion of Women, based on a novel by Pearl S. Buck, is set in China in 1938. The Chinese aristocracy is under threat from both Communist rebels inside China, and the powerful Japanese Army on the borders. Madame Wu (Yan Luo) is the 40-year-old wife of domineering Chinese aristocrat Lord Wu (Shek Sau). Now that she has raised her son Fengmo (John Cho) to adulthood, Madame Wu wishes to free herself from family responsibility, and her husband's sexual demands. Against tradition, she introduces a beautiful young peasant, Chiuming (Yi Ding), to the household as a concubine, in the hope that Chiuming will sate Lord Wu's appetite. Complications arise when Fengmo falls in love with Chiuming, while Madame Wu is drawn towards the mysterious American priest, Father Andre (Willem Dafoe), who has been tutoring Fengmo. Madame Wu's unconventional actions as she seeks love and happiness threaten to destroy her household, just as war and revolution bring chaos to her country.

Metacritic Score

  • 30

    The New York Times Dana Stevens

    It might have been a satisfying if not terribly original piece of historical melodrama, but its clumsiness turns it, against its best intentions, into half-baked operatic kitsch.

  • 30

    Los Angeles Times Kevin Thomas

    Can never rise above the melodrama of a past era, despite a splendid, impassioned portrayal by Willem Dafoe and an affecting one by Luo Yan.

  • 20

    Variety Robert Koehler

    Fails to stir the emotions despite its heavily melodramatic drive.

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    Categories

    Drama

    Themes

    Love & Romance