Raise the Red Lantern

Italicized text is material taken from the novella, in many instances, substantially altered.
Bolded text is material Yimou adds.
The various colors highlight patterns of repetition.

  1. Production credits. Lantern Music to the title: RAISE THE RED LANTERN

  2. Songlian to mother: "Let me be a concubine. Isn't that a woman's fate? (Music starts.)


  3. On the road to concubindage. (Music.)
  4. Arrives at the Master's House.

  5. Meets Yan'er, the servant.

  6. Enters her house: "Why are there so many red lanterns?"
  7. Raising the Red Lanterns (Lantern Music.)
  8. High Angle of Courtyard with lanterns.
  9. S. gets the foot massage. (Foot massage sound.)
  10. High Angle Courtyard with Lanterns.

  11. Meets her Master.
  12. In bed: "I have all these lanterns so I can see." (Opera Music.)
  13. High Angle Courtyard with lanterns.
  14. Master goes to the Third Mistress: Chant: "Light the lanterns at the 3rd. house."
  15. High Angle Courtyard.
  16. S. looking in the mirror with lantern. (Choral Music.)

  17. Learns the customs of the Table and the Ancestors.

  18. Goes to the Master at the 3rd Mistress's house.
  19. Meets the First Mistress.
  20. Meets the Second Mistress--Zhuoyun.

  21. Putting out the lanterns at the 3rd house.

  22. Yan'er assigned as S's servant.
  23. Yan'er spits on S's clothes.

  24. Master and wives at table.

  25. Meets Third Mistress--Meishan.

  26. High Angle Courtyard.
  27. Mistresses waiting for the Lantern. Chant: "Light the lantern at the 4th house." (Lantern Music and Foot massage sound.)
  28. High Angle Courtyard.
  29. Gets the foot massage. (massage sound.)
  30. Master visits: "Lighted lanterns, foot massages. Do you like it here? After a few days you won't want to leave."

  31. In bed: 3rd. Mistress calls.
  32. Confronts the 3rd Mistress. Meishan singing.
  33. S. returns: Master fooling around with Yan'er.
  34. Master goes to 3rd Mistress. Chant: "Light the lanterns at the 3rd house." (Lantern music.)

  35. Songlian longs for the foot massage. (massage sound)

  36. Master with 3rd. Mistress. Meishan singing.
  37. High Angle Courtyard with lanterns.
  38. Goes walking: the Room on the roof. Meishan singing.
  39. With 2nd Mistress: "What is that small room up above?"

  40. The 4 women at table.
  41. Servants: "House with the lighted lanterns sets the menu."

  42. Looking through suitcase: the flute and student blouse. (Flute music.)
  43. Meishan invites S. to Mah-jong.
  44. Playing Mah-jong.

  45. High Angle Courtyard. Master returns. "Light the lanterns at the 2nd. house."

  46. Mah-jong game: "I'm just one of the Master's robes. He can wear it or take it off." (Massage sound.)

  47. Master at 2nd house.

  48. Mah-jong: Meishan's footsy with Dr. Gao. (Opera music and then Lantern music.)

    AUTUMN (Lantern music.)

  49. Courtyard with lanterns.
  50. Master visits: S. looking in mirror. (Lantern music.)

  51. The 3 Mistresses at table.

  52. High Angle Courtyard.
  53. Meets Feipu playing the flute. (Flute music.)
  54. Searches for her flute: "Only men play the flute."
  55. Discovers Yan'er Lanterns and Voodoo Doll. (Choral Music.)
  56. Confronts Master about the flute: "I had it burned." (Flute Music.)

  57. Chant:"Light the lantern at the 2nd house."

  58. 2nd Mistress comes for a cut.
  59. Meishan visits: "Our fate is the same." (Choral Music.)

  60. 2nd Mistress and Master.
  61. Chant: "Light the lanterns at the 2nd house."
  62. S. visits 2nd M getting the foot massage. (Massage sound.)
  63. Yan'er dreaming of the foot massage. (Massage sound.)
  64. S. dreaming of the foot massage. (Massage sound.)
  65. Yan'er dreaming of foot massage . (Massage sound.)
  66. S. command Y. to give her foot massage: Her new plan. (Lantern music.)
  67. Master comes to S: (Lantern music.)
  68. High Angle Courtyard.
  69. Songlian and the Master: "Lanterns will be lit day and night."
  70. Raising the Red Lanterns. (Choral Music )
  71. High Angle of Courtyard with lanterns. (Choral music.)
  72. S. dreaming of foot massage. (Massage sound and Choral Music)

    WINTER(Lantern Music.)

  73. High Angle of Courtyard with lanterns. (Lantern music then Massage sound.)
  74. S. Getting the foot massage. (Massage sound.)
  75. Three Mistresses at Table.
  76. 2nd Mistress giving S. a body massage.
  77. Yan'er spots the Spot.
  78. Yan'er tells 2nd Mistress.
  79. Songlian and Yan'er.
  80. 2nd Mistress tells Master S. needs Dr. Gao.
  81. Dr. Gao's visit: sees the 3rd. Mistress.
  82. Dr. Gao tells the Master S. isn't pregnant.
  83. Master and S.
  84. High Angle Courtyard: "Cover the lanterns."
  85. Reactions shots of the women.
  86. Chant: "Cover the lanterns."
  87. Blowing out the lanterns.
  88. Covering the Lanterns.
  89. S. in courtyard with black lanterns.
  90. S. confronts Yan'er.
  91. S. throws Yan'er's lanterns in the courtyard.
  92. High Angle Courtyard.
  93. "Follow the old custom."
  94. Burning the lanterns: Yan'er in the snow.
  95. High Angle Courtyard.(Choral Music.)
  96. Yan'er in the snow. (One Dissolve) (Choral Music.)
  97. High Angle Courtyard: Yan'er collapses.

  98. Servants: "Who'd think 4th Mistress would be so vicious?"
  99. Taking Yan'er to the hospital. (Choral Music.)

  100. High Angle Courtyard.
  101. Chant: "Light the lanterns at the 2nd house." (Meishan's singing.)
  102. S. and the lantern.

  103. Meishan singing at dawn.[High Angle Courtyard.]
  104. Meishan and Songlian on the balcony: "Light the lanterns, blow out the lanterns, cover the lanterns. What do I care? What do people amount to in this house?"
  105. POV of Death House. "They're like cats, dogs, or rats. But certainly not people."
  106. M. and S. on the balcony.
  107. High Angle Courtyard.
  108. 20th birthday. Aunt Cao.
  109. High Angle Courtyard.
  110. 20th. birthday. Yan'er dies. (Choral Music.)
  111. Feipu visits S. (Flute music.)

  112. S. drunk. Tells 2nd Mistress about Meishan and Dr. Gao.

  113. Feipu looks and leaves. (Flute music.)
  114. High Angle Courtyard covered in snow. (Flute Music)
  115. S. watches the captured Meishan and the lanterns go by.

  116. S. and 2nd Mistress: "I'm glad you told me yesterday."
  117. Servant tells S. what she did. (Choral Music.)
  118. Long Shot of Death House. (Choral Music.)

  119. S. watches Meishan's trip to the House of Death.

  120. S. goes to the House of Death: POV hand-held camera. (Choral Music.)

  121. Long shot of S. at the House: "Murderers!"
  122. High Angle Courtyard.
  123. Master and S.: "You've gone mad."

  124. Long Shot of Death House.
  125. High Angle Courtyard:: Calling House Keeper.
  126. High Angle Courtyard: Servants approach 3rd. Mistress's House.
  127. Servants in 3rd Mistress's house: Lanterns are lit. (Meishan singing.)
  128. High Angle Courtyard: It's haunted.
  129. S. lights the lanterns: and plays Meishan's Opera.
  130. Courtyard: Covers off and lanterns lit.
  131. S. in her room.
  132. Courtyard: S. framed in doorway. Camera moves in. (Meishan's Opera.)
  133. Close-up of S.


  134. The Fifth Mistress. (firecrackers and the opening music of Songlian's coming.)

  135. 5th Mistress gets the foot massage. Camera moves in. (Massage sound.)

  136. Songlian pacing in the house. (Massage sound and Choral Music.)
  137. Dissolve one: medium shot of S. in house with lanterns. (Choral Music.)
  138. Dissolve two: S. pacing in the courtyard with lanterns. (Choral Music.)
  139. Dissolve three: Medium High Angle Courtyard shot of S. pacing in the courtyard. (Choral Music.)
  140. Dissolve four: High Angle Courtyard of Songlian pacing in the courtyard. (Choral Music.)