Red Sorghum

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  • NR
  • 1987
  • 1 hr 35 min
  • 7.3  (9,759)

Red Sorghum is a visually stunning Chinese film that was directed by Zhang Yimou and released in 1988. The film takes place in rural China during the Second Sino-Japanese War, and follows the story of a young girl named Jiu'er, who is forced to marry a winery owner named Jinsheng after her father dies. The winery produces sorghum wine, and the story is told through the lens of the sorghum fields and the laborers who work there.

The film opens with Jiu'er's wedding procession, where she is carried to the winery in a covered sedan chair. However, the procession is attacked by bandits who are after the sorghum wine, and Jinsheng is murdered. Jiu'er takes over the winery, and she spends the rest of the film struggling to keep it running as the war rages around her.

One of the main themes of the film is the contrast between the beauty of the sorghum fields and the violence and brutality of war. The sorghum fields are a constant presence throughout the film, and Zhang Yimou captures their sweeping, golden beauty with stunning cinematography. However, the fields are also a site of violence, as they are raided by bandits and bombed by the Japanese.

Another major theme of the film is the role of women in society. Jiu'er is a strong and determined woman who is fiercely independent and refuses to be taken advantage of by the men around her. She is a stark contrast to the other women in the film, who are mostly portrayed as passive and subservient. Jiu'er's strength and defiance are ultimately what enable her to survive and thrive in the face of war and famine.

The performances in the film are also outstanding, particularly by Gong Li, who plays Jiu'er. Gong Li is one of China's most acclaimed actresses, and she brings a fierce intensity to her role as the winery owner. Wen Jiang, who plays the young laborer who becomes Jiu'er's lover, also delivers a powerful performance. Rujun Teng, who plays Jiu'er's father, is mostly silent throughout the film but his presence looms large over the story.

Overall, Red Sorghum is a masterpiece of Chinese cinema. It is a bold and visually stunning film that tells a powerful story of love, survival, and the resilience of the human spirit. The film's themes of war, gender, and nature are universal and still resonate today, making Red Sorghum a timeless classic that is a must-watch for anyone interested in world cinema.

Red Sorghum
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 35 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (9,759)