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Red Sorghum

By | May 2002
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Red Sorghum

Claire Huot China's New Cultural Scene
The film Red Sorghum was one of the most popular Fifth Generation films in China and Abroad. As an adolescent American kid, probably the average, I got to see a new perspective of China through this class. I wanted to compare the West's interpretation with Chinas'. One of the first things I did was compare Chinese cinema to well known American cinema. Zhang Yimou's first film as director, Red Sorghum was immensely popular at home and abroad. The film follows a popular novel with its point of view; an off-stage, present-day male narrator whose own life is ancient and minute compared to the family he was grateful to have been associated with. Compared to a classic American Movie this is very much the same. The movie I am talking about is Legends of the fall. In almost the exact same way this movie was made. An older Indian gentleman begins to tell the story he lived. He grew up in a great family, with great traditions. Then he narrates the tale of a family and its struggles through love, war, bitterness, and bad times. Its starts with that voice, on a blank screen: "I will tell you the story of my grandpa and grandma…" In LOTF an older Indian man starts telling the story of "Tristan's stormy birth" We then see the hero at a very young age, fighting a bear. In Red Sorghum instead of the expected old granny, we see a beautiful, twenty-something woman who, looks very attractive.

When Nine arrives at the distillery and rallies all the men together to work, its comparable to the first time Susanna arrives at the ranch. Run by mostly men, she has some women, but the men all look at her with admiration. Right away Tristan is taken to her. When she is out riding and lassoing the cow, is like Nine rounding up the Sorghum to work. Tristan automatically chases a nearby Mustang and catches it. Much like Grandpa catching the first "thief" on the travel through the sorghum fields. He comes back with...

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