A week-long Oscar qualification run for Zhang Yimou’s third martial-art epic Curse of the Golden Flowers has began secretly yesterday at a movie theater in Beijing. This is for making it qualified for competing for the Best Foreign Langue Film category of next year’s Oscar, and Sony Pictures Classics is scheduled to release it in North America in December, which would make it qualified for other categories. According to several Chinese newspapers, Beijingers who have seen the film are almost overwhelmingly praising this US$45 million historical drama. According to some of them, Curse of the Golden Flowers shows lavish designs and beautiful cinematography, and above all, a nicely written story presented by a first class cast at a true epic level. When Zhang Yimou’s Hero came out about four years ago, reviews at home were shapely divided. The criticizers of the film said it generally had no story. Then Zhang made House of Flying Daggers, a attempt of telling an story, which turned out disappointed most Chinese viewers. Then Chen Kaige’s shot his own epic The Promise, which was basically a junkie mess. Earlier this month, The Banquet, a big budget historical drama by another influential Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, best known for directing comedies about ordinary people, was release and got a mixed review both at home and overseas.