Synopsis by Mark Deming
A dying love between two powerful people leads to deceit, infidelity, and conspiracy in this epic-scale historical drama from director Zhang Yimou. During the latter days of the Tang dynasty, the Emperor (Chow Yun-Fat) returns home from the war with his son Prince Jai (Jay Chou) in tow. However, the monarch gets a chilly reception from the Empress (Gong Li); though she's eager to see her son, her marriage has become deeply acrimonious, and she's taken a lover, Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye), her stepson from the Emperor's first marriage. the Emperor, meanwhile, has his own plan for dealing with his failing marriage -- he's ordered the Imperial Doctor (Ni Dahong) to find an exotic drug that will drive the Empress insane and administer it to her without her knowledge. However, the doctor's ethical dilemma is intensified by the fact his daughter Chan (Li Man) has fallen in love with Crown Prince Wan and the two wish to elope. As the Emperor and Empress allow their estrangement to sink into violence and retribution, their youngest son, Prince Yu (Qin Junjie), struggles to keep the peace in the household. Curse of the Golden Flower (aka Man Cheng Jim Dai Huang Jin Jia) received its North American premiere at the 2006 American Film Institute Los Angeles Film Festival.
emperor, marriage, betrayal, conspiracy, extramarital-affair, power-struggle, prince, stepson, doctor