Chance to see the woman in the moon

Independent On Sunday; Free Film Screening
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Chen Kaige's new film, Temptress Moon (15), marks something of a defection for its star, Gong Li (above). A Cannes jurist, L'Oreal model and Venice Film Festival award-winner, Gong is probably the best-known oriental actress in the world. Her productive professional (and intense personal) relationship with Chen Kaige's greatest creative rival, Zhang Yimou, produced landmarks in world cinema such as Raise the Red Lantern and The Story of Qiu Ju. But now all that seems to be over, and Zhang's loss is Chen Kaige's gain.

Temptress Moon has the same grand, lavish quality and broad historical scope that distinguished Chen's Farewell My Concubine. Elaborately costumed and beautifully shot, it's set between 1911 and 1921, and focuses on the dynastic politics of a wealthy Shanghai family. It has scale, sex and scandal: the New York Times called it a "Chinese Gone with the Wind", though Gong plays a woman more scarlet than O'Hara - she's a dissolute opium addict with erotic designs on her brother (Leslie Cheung).

Like Gong's 1994 film, To Live, it has been banned by the Beijing authorities - much to the frustration of its makers. But you're in with a chance of doing what the censor has denied 1,173,659,000-odd Chinese people: we have free tickets for a screening at the Chelsea Cinema, SW3, on Sun 5 Oct at 11am. To claim a pair, send an SAE to: Temptress Moon, Arts Desk, IoS, 1 Canada Sq, E14 5DL. Matthew Sweet

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