Zhang's tale, set in the 10th-century Tang Dynasty, is a sumptuous, convoluted saga of family mayhem. The Emperor (Chow) has returned home from a long battle, just before the annual chrysanthemum festival (the flower of the title). The emperor is having the royal doctor poison his unloved empress (Gong), who is having an affair with Crown Prince Wan, her stepson, who is actually in love with the doctor's daughter, Chan. The doctor's wife warns the empress about the poison; she turns out to be the emperor's ex-wife, and the mother of Wan (who thought she was dead) and Chan. There's some martial arts stuff between the imperial factions and it's all very operatic, including the elaborate corseted, bosom-lifting costumes the empress wears. Mandarin with subtitles.