The film as a critique of power
Through a strategy of indirectness
Power shifts between the 4 concubines
Power dynamics between man and woman note what the master/husband says, dialogue/words used and how they reflect his power. Is there justice/responsibility that comes along with his power? In what ways is power abused? He does things simply because he can. Sex traded for power desire for the red lanterns to be lit. Red lanterns are a symbol of the master’s favor role of women in modern Chinese society where education for women is still a luxury that many families cannot afford and marriage is consequently their only career option. Patriarchy triumphs because it has managed to get women to buy into the system. It divides and conquers. The women are “sisters” but compete with each other. The atmosphere is full of anger and jealousy. •
FILM VS NOVEL:
Film – The fact that the man’s face is never really shown is ironic. One would think that leaving out the man from the frame renders him unimportant. However what really occurs is it intensifies his importance and his power. He becomes omnipresent. His power and potency is given life in everything. He is represented with light (lanterns), architecture (a display of his status and wealth that is a cornerstone of his power), foot massages (tradition/ritual), and through the bodies of the women (their obedience and pain). Despite him not having an emphasized or physical presence in the movie, he is the center of it.
Subjugation as a major theme.
(of women, of individuality)
Novel/Film cries out loudly against the subjugation of women and, more broadly, the subjugation of individuality by age-old repression traditions maintained by patriarchy.
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