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Red Sorghum (Zhang Yimou)
December 21, 2012Posted by on
It appears everywhere. Through a film screening in Stockholm, and later on television. Nobel laureate Mo Yan is more relevant than ever. And it’s now or never, as I intend to look at the brilliant film Red Sorghum.
Mo Yan received this year’s Nobel Prize in literature. He wrote Red Sorghum Clan where one of the volumes was named Red Sorghum. Red Sorghum was published in 1987. A film adaptation by Zhang Yimou came out soon after.
The narrator is the protagonist’s grandson, and at first it is about her pre-arranged marriage that did not go as planned. Basically the movie is about the first meeting between the Narrator’s grandparents, and his father’s later infancy. Towards the middle of the film the family becomes affected by the war, which leads to sorrowful consequences.
It’s history with a fairy-tale-like narrative. The red, from the wine and the blood across the fields after skinning and shooting, gives an incredibly strong impression on the Japanese view on communism and the Chinese situation during the war. It is artistic yet simple and political. Initially, the film is a flashback to an old time, where the narrator tells it like it was a legendary tale. Towards the middle, the story turns into a historical document. Manifests what people were subjected to. The red is fundamental to the story, which is both the symbol of their income source (wine) and their country’s suffering.