"Jasmine Women" tells the story of one family's
struggle to overcome its tragic history, as each daughter
repeats the mistakes of her mother. Veteran cinematographer
and first-time director Hou Yong (Cinematographer of Zhang
Yimou's "The Road Home" and Tian Zhuang Zhuang's
"The Blue Kite") sets his film in the 1930's, 50's
and 80's against the backdrop of an ever-changing Shanghai.
The film is all the more remarkable for the fact that Zhang
Ziyi plays three roles: the young Mo, the young Li and Hua.
Women depicts the tales of different three women in a Shanghai
family and one of Asian hottest celebrity, Zhang Ziyi gets
to stretch her acting abilities by portraying the three women
Mo, Li and Hua during the different eras of Shanghai.
first story begins during the glitz and glamorous period of
Shanghai in the 1930, a time when the young Mo dreams of being
a movie star which her mother disapproved of. One day, opportunities
came knocking on their doors and a charming middle age man
made Mo a chance of a lifetime to achieve her dreams. Instant
stardom arrived quickly but woes soon followed as Mo finds
out that she is pregnant and the actual reasons for her quick
accent in show business.
20 years ahead where the second story is set during the communism
period of Shanghai in the 1950s and this time, the focus shift
from Mo to her daughter Li. A different culture is sweeping
through and that causes the conflicting mindset between mother
and daughter. Li fell in love with a young leader from the
working class but was met with Mo's disapproval. Anxious to
be with the man she loved, she left home and gotten married.
But things were not as rosy as Li thought it would be and
soon faces problems with her in laws.
last story is set during the early 1980s and now the focus
is about Hua, the daughter of Li. Like her mother and grandmother
before her, she secretly married a fellow student without
getting her elder's consent and suffer similar fate as those
before her. Before they could actually spend any time as a
married couple, Hua's husband went aboard to further his studies
and like many long distance relationship, their relationship
couldn't stand the test of time and distance away each other.
all three stories, all the protagonists each faces similar
problems and fate. All three woman disobey her mother or grandmother
for a relationship with seemly perfect man but ends up paying
a hefty price for the consequences. This film also showcase
how trends and culture affect these ladies' decisions and
the different ways they dealt with their problems.
of the buzz factor for this movie would be definitely be Zhang
Ziyi starring in this movie. Her choice of movies have help
her build her reputation in solid acting and Jasmine women
was another good choice of film to participate. She earned
the Best Actress of the 13th Golden Rooster Awards of China
with her performance as the young Mo, Li and Hua. With some
help from the film production and her dramatic range of acting
ability, She handled all the three roles very convincingly
and differentiating the three roles with ease.
talented actress joins Zhang Ziyi in multi roles was Joan
Chen, who plays Mo's mother and Mo as a mother and Mo as a
grandmother. As usual, beside looking gorgeous and excluding
grace for her characters, she is just as capable in making
each character distinctive beyond the help from wardrobe and
bit of side trivial information for non Chinese speakers out
there, the name of all the three protagonists Mo, Li and Hua
form the Chinese word for Jasmine Flower. The literal Mandarin
translation of Jasmine Women is (Mo Li Hua Ka) which means
the blossoming of the Jasmine flower (Mo Li Hua).
never seen the theatrical release of this film but I was told
that the picture quality was sharp and colors are vibrant. The
picture quality of Comstar release for this film was strangely
grainy which I thought could be a bad transfer. Nevertheless
the grainy picture quality does set the moods for the olden
days of Shanghai.
Women is presented in widescreen and comes in Dolby Digital
2.0 for playback in normal television set with switchable
English and Chinese Subititles.
DVD RATING :
by Richard Lim Jr