The film is about a girl played by the beautiful Gong Li who becomes the fourth concubine to a local lord or something, they never really explain it. What is important is that the lord has set up an incentive system to get the four concubines to try and please him the most. The one that he chooses to spend the night with gets red lanterns lit within and outside as well as a foot massage. Obviously there’s the sex, but it isn’t that important. What is important is keeping and establishing your place in the pecking order. It’s this fighting for position that is ultimately Gong Li’s undoing.
Like I said at the beginning, I have no clue why I loved this film so much, but I highly recommend it.