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Zhang Yi Mou film-makers - Movie Review Example

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Zhang Yi Mou is one of the most outstanding and controversial Chinese film-makers. Some of his films were even censored in China in the past, but others were at the same time extolled by Chinese critics. …
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Zhang Yi Mou film-makers
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Download file to see previous pages Let us overview some of the films of Zhang Yi Mou in order to find out what they are trying to show to the audience, and in the end try to see what similarities exist in his films and in the way the director presents them.

The movie "Raise the Red Lantern", filmed in 1991, is one of the earliest works of Zhang Yi Mou, but nevertheless represents an astonishingly mature genre of melodrama. Indeed, while offering the audience rich and beautiful imagery, this picture is in essence a bitter story of Chinese sexual politics. That the films events take place in 1920s should not distract us from the fact that dangerous traditions may still be present in todays China as well. The movie begins as young Songlian after her father dies leaves college and becomes the fourth wife of Chen, a rich older man. However, this new life of Songlian is hardly a happy one because of a hostile atmosphere within her new family where each wife competes for preference from the side of their husband. Initially, Songlian attempts to win through in this contest, but the worth of the prise is hardly justified - it is the sexual attention of the husband, who himself is almost ignored by the camera. Power is distributed between wives by the masters choice where to spend night, and the chosen wife may enjoy foot massage and the right to appoint menu for the next day. Here, we can understand the name of the film - according to an old tradition, red lanterns mark the place where the master wants to spend the night. Quite symbolically, if the master is absent lights go out as well as his attention to a wife. So, it is in this environment that Songlian attempts to outwit the ageing first wife, the apparently attentive second wife, and the secretive third wife. The faked pregnancy of Songlian temporarily endows her with power, but when the truth is uncovered the fate of Songlian is predetermined - her red lanterns are destined to remain dark. Finally, the girl becomes mad, and, ironically, the film ends with the arrival of the fifth wife. This plot is probably used by the director to indicate the ways in which we ourselves tolerate our own subjugation and ideological oppression, and this is true for people of different times, nationalities and positions. It is also quite indicative that "Raise the Red Lantern" was prohibited in China.
"The Story of Qiu Ju", filmed in 1992, is another fascinating picture about a Chinese woman. The heroine of the film, an idealistic and obstinate peasant, strives for justice to be served after her husband gets hurt by the village authority. For Qiu Ju this incident is an extreme example of power abuse, so she can only be appeased by an apology, which she cannot obtain. In this situation, even despite being pregnant, Qiu Ju goes to town to settle her pressing issue with authorities there. But there she again fails to get satisfaction as all that she is offered is a financial settlement without recognition of guilt and public excuse. Then the woman carries her matter further to the city level, to the county level, until she reaches the capital authorities. Qiu Jus crusade against bureaucracy provides a comprehensive picture of modern China with its striking contrast between rural and city life. At the same time, the story of the peasant woman investigates different moral issues in a bureaucratic society. However, above all stands the convincing and moving ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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