Zhang's fleshy scenes arouse debate


BEIJING - Chinese director Zhang Yimou's latest martial arts blockbuster "Curse of the Golden Flower" has been nicknamed "Curse of the Golden Corset" by the country's Internet users transfixed by the actresses' bodice-ripping gowns.

The $45 million epic set in the Tang dynasty features bloody battles, ornate sets and an "eye-popping" role from Gong Li, "whose breasts are so tightly wrapped that they appear ready to pop out of her costume", Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.

"What I remember is not the fighting scenes or the acting, but the shiny white flesh," Xinhua quoted Internet surfer "Bond" as saying in a personal review.

The term used for "golden flower" sounds similar to "golden corset" in Mandarin, though the Chinese characters are different.

An online video parodying "Curse" had cast Oscar-nominated Zhang as the principal of a breast enlargement school, Xinhua said.

Actress Gong defended the skimpy costumes as modeled on Tang dynasty fashions.

"They show the beauty of a woman's curves. There was no feeling of awkwardness or danger for us wearing the costumes," she said.

"Curse" had set a new opening-weekend box office record in China, and had grossed 96 million yuan ($12.28 million) in its first three days, Xinhua said.

($1=7.818 Yuan)