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Life is like a road, with ups and downs, spirals and straights and putting this into perspective is none other than Zhang Yimou, in his award winning film Red Sorghum.
Shot in the Northern Province, the film assumes the setting an oral narrative using an omniscient chronicler talking of his past experiences of his grandparents. (MH)
With a cast of five characters, Li Gong (the grandmother), Jiang Wen, Liu Ji, Qian Ming and Ji Cun hua, Red Sorghum details the escapades of a girl, now the grandmother, kidnapped on the material day of a pre-arranged marriage to a leprosy-ridden vineyard proprietor (Parkinson)
In a flashback, the audience comes into contact with the girl known as Nine symbolizing that she was the ninth kid, born on the ninth day of the ninth month. On her wedding day to the winery owner, Nine is frisked away by an unidentified thug. Attempts to rape her by the thug are thwarted as a masculine Yu (Jiang Weng) comes to her rescue and murders the thug. Before Nine heads to her supposedly marriage with the wine guru they make love with Yu at the comfort of the sorghum grounds. In the melee, the winemaker inexplicably dies and his body found occasioning Yu to live with Nine transforming of the wine business to a prosperous venture (Parkinson). After the death of the winery owner, Nine marries Yu resulting to the birth of their son.
The movie applies at great lengths oral literature techniques such personification and imagery by using human beings in symbolizing warring countries For instance China (Winemaker) as a person in war with Japanese army(thug) who had invaded China's territory(Nine) and recruited its own winemakers (Yu) to rescue Nine to pave way for their marriage. "China is in the midst of war, and invading Japanese soldiers have recruited the winemakers to trample the fields to make way for a new road. The Chinese are treated savagely by the Japanese; at the close, a solar eclipse turns the sky and the sorghum field a deep red" (Red Sorghum)
Intertwining moments of humor and violence helps in the easier consumption of the movie by the audience. For instance the viewer is tensed by the Nine's kidnapper but regains confidence of Nine's safety after Yu's intervention. By so doing, the movies director reduces the audience's surprise.
Ebert asserts that Red Sorghum is a parable of the development in China and the visual quality used betrays the time it was acted. "Red Sorghum can be read as a parable of China's development, or as a hymn in praise of the way the workers resisted the Japanese invaders" (Ebert)
However, the use of the Chinese language, segregates the audience, contrary to popular belief, the Chinese language is not universal and is not applicable other viewers. In this regard changing of language or else providing translated material would make sure that the audience is not alienated.
The movie's plot flowed in a logical way thus establishing contact with the audience. In this I imply that the scenes were closely interconnected, easing the comprehensibility of the content.
In conclusion, for the achievement of better quality images the director would have reduced the usage of the red color no matter the impression he wanted to create. However, Red Sorghum poses an opportunity for great movie producers to emulate.