You are currently displaying Big5
潘金蓮之前世今生 (1989)
Reincarnation of Golden Lotus

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 06/17/2014
Summary: Difficult to like

“The Reincarnation of Golden Lotus” is a tawdry tale based on Chinese mythology in which a woman who has been sexually degraded and murdered is reborn ten centuries later with some shattered memories of her last life along with a white hot hatred toward those who mistreated her and a willingness to take revenge on them. The woman is Lotus, played by Joey Wong. Wong, of course, is a devastatingly beautiful woman who is so perfectly lighted and framed by cinematographer Jingle Ma that she could stand in for Helen of Troy, Salome or Messalina.

Just before her reincarnation Lotus refuses to drink the tea of forgetfulness so she won’t be haunted by memories of her past lives. She refused so she could remember the men who abused her and sharpen her contempt for and wreak vengeance on all men. We first encounter the “new” Lotus during the Cultural Revolution in the People’s Republic. She is one of a band of little girls in ballet class that seem to be learning steps to "Red Detachment of Women" complete with prop wooden rifles--meanwhile the cultural revolution is going on just outside the classroom with books burned, slogans chanted, class enemies beaten and capitalist roaders denounced. Jumping ahead several years is noticed by the ballet school principal. Ku Feng, who has played a lot of venal apparatchiks and dirty old men (as well as every other supporting role one can think of) is the ballet school principal. He watches Lotus rehearsing a pas de deux, calls her into his office and tells her she is too tall for a ballerina but that he can get her plenty of roles if she sleeps with him. When Lotus turns him down he rapes her--a brief and horrifying scene in which the mood goes from queasy anxiety to shock and disgust in a flash. Lotus is blamed for trying to seduce the principle, branded a counterrevolutionary and kicked out of the school.

Could things get any worse for Lotus? Of course they can. Working as a sewing machine operator in a clothing factory she is attracted by a muscular young worker who is also a star on the company basketball team. When she buys him trainers with her savings Lotus is denounced by the Party cadre and once again accused of seducing senior people, in this case company supervisors. When she insists that they forced themselves on her, she is thrown to the ground, forced to "confess" and beaten.

All that the viewer knows is that she was raped by the ballet school principal but has only very unreliable testimony from Lotus and from the chorus of enemies that are always eager to denounce her. In her former life she was branded as “the slut of all time”, a label she seems to carry into the 20th century. She is accused of being a whore by everyone and goes from humiliation to humiliation, including at her wedding ceremony where her new husband’s great grandmother says that she is “too beautiful”, code for bad news, lazy and slutty—which she is.

Her husband, played by Eric Tsang playing Eric Tsang, is a sad sack but wealthy. He supports a houseful of female relatives who hate his wife, hires a hot looking chauffeur, his cousin, to drive Lotus around and spend lots of time with her in his absence and buys her anything she wants and lots of stuff she doesn’t want. Lotus is by now out of control and careens into a one night stand with a creepy designer that includes drugs, dildos, bondage and an epic walk of shame.

It is pretty clear by now that Clara Law and screenwriter Lillian Lee had painted themselves into a corner—there is simply nowhere to go after the non-stop degradation and abasement suffered by Lotus so Law finally just blew everything up with the credits rolling over a flaming explosion. This is not an easy movie to like.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 01/28/2007
Summary: Grit your teeth

Viewed as a glamour vehicle for Joey Wong, this film could hardly be better. She is on screen nearly 90% of the running time, being shown off in a great variety of clothing and looks, and shows off her entire dramatic range, from A to B (with occasionally C). And some of the photography is just wonderfully lush, but little if anything to recommend apart from Joey-watching.

Eric Tsang plays a HK businessman who never quite grew up, and his naive enthusiasm and faith in Joey is cringingly believable. The rest of the cast show little enthusiasm for proceedings, while Tan Lap-Man rehearses for Erotic Ghost Story. Joey's character is possessed of the vengeful soul of Poon Gam Lin (Golden Lotus), and keeps taking her over, and forcing her into wild and sluttish behaviour. The story moves from dull to horrifying to unssettling to weird to irritating to sad to ...... yeah, lots of negative stuff, very downbeat. And a really weird and unexpected ending.

Warning : do not watch this in a cinema. Boredom or depression may result from inability to escape the horrid bits. Fans of possibly Asia's loveliest star (which includes me), watch it with gritted teeth. Others, miss it.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: ksbutterbox
Date: 01/26/2003
Summary: Good Film

Well..I like this movie. The music
is really good and Joey never looked

To me this is for Joey what "Rouge"
was for Anita Mui. Same kind of uneasy
feeling this movie has going for it.
Clara Law has always seemed to make
"downer" movies...but this one works.
Eric Tsang is irritatingly hilarious
as the rich but incompetent in bed husband.

Joey gets the opportunity to really "act" in this as well.
Not for everyone apparently but if
you like Joey..this is a must see.

Reviewed by: s****
Date: 10/19/2000
Summary: curse this film

I hated, hated, HATED this movie. Maybe my expectations were too high going into it; maybe I'm missing some aspect of the source material; even so, though, this movie is lousy. The plot, about some girl whose life sucks then she gets reincarnated and her life STILL sucks, sounds at first like it could have been interesting. However, the ham-fisted, audience-unfriendly direction and obtuse script really make this a virtually intolerable cinematic experience.

If a film is entertaining, then it doesn't have to have a "point". However, if a film is excruciatingly boring, with dead-weight characters no viewer could possibly care about, and then the abrupt, completely absurd ending to the film makes me go, "Huh," and then try to throw my television out the window, I do have to ask: What was the point of all that? Was it supposed to be some statement about fate? Morality? Love? Why did anyone bother to make this film?

I know some critics love this movie. I cannot possibly understand why. Maybe it's just the politically correct thing to do; critics seem unable to avoid that temptation. In my opinion, there is no reason to see it. Nothing of significance happens. You'll waste a good 89 minutes of your life, and it will feel like five hours.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

A lush and erotic melodrama of a beautiful "fallen woman" fromChinese fable who seeks reincarnation after death so she can get revenge on the men who abused her. Visually stunning entertainment.

[Reviewed by Rim Films Catalog]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

In fact, this doesn't have much to do with literature's (in)famous Golden Lotus character. Rather, it's eventually recognisable as a famous episode from "the Water Margin", the one where Wu Song visits his merchant brother. However, the setting is modern, and events unfold through the adulterous wife's point of view. A disconcerting ennui pervades an otherwise conventional treatment.

[Reviewed by Iain Sinclair]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

In between lives, Golden Lotus (Joey Wong, who looks sensational), the "#1 slut in ancient Chinese history," (or so the subtitles remind us) reincarnates just before the Cultural Revolution to take revenge on everyone who wronged her in the past. We shuttle back and forth between wooden period tableaux and mundane modern-day happenings as she reverts to her old self. At the end, a guy in back of me said, "That was ridiculous," and despite my vigilant love for Joey, I couldn't disagree.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 3