Watch Yellow Earth
- 1 hr 29 min
Yellow Earth is a 1984 Chinese film directed by Chen Kaige which features protagonists- an injured communist soldier and a young girl who is going to be married off soon. It stars Xueqi Wang as the communist soldier, Bai Xue as a young girl and Quiang Liu as the tailor who arranges their meeting. Set in rural China, the story takes place in the 1930s during the communist revolution, when the People's Liberation Army was sending soldiers to villages to collect folk songs and dances. The film is a historical drama with an emphasis on the importance of capturing the culture and tradition of Chinese folk songs. The narrative of Yellow Earth is a delicate and poignant portrayal of China's past and the changes that the country was going through. This film beautifully captures the relationship that the Chinese people had with their land and culture. The themes of the film are of love and separation, and the effects of these emotions on people. Xueqi Wang plays a soldier who is sent to this particular village to collect local songs and dances. He is an intellectual and duly proud, contrasts with the local peasants who are uneducated and simple folk. He injured himself during the journey, and in the village, he meets a young girl (Bai Xue) who is to be married to a man she has never met. She is enamoured by the soldier's stories of urban life and begins to see him as a way out of the village. The tailor, Quiang Liu, is the catalyst for bringing these two characters together. He is an interesting character who is kind and caring, who treasures the gifts and opportunities he has received from the local Communist leaders. Liu's love for the songs and the culture of his people is what drives him. Yellow Earth is a slow burner film that spends time exploring its characters' relationships and interactions. The visuals are stunning, with beautiful shots of the rolling hills, the dusty, vast expanses of land, and the golden light of dawn and dusk. The film's music is another notable aspect of the movie. The songs are haunting and, at times, melancholic, but always beautiful, capturing the essence of Chinese folk music. The performances of the actors are impeccable and impressive, with Wang's portrayal of the soldier being particularly noteworthy. The film's thematic aspect is the examination of the idea of the land in traditional Chinese culture, which had a profound attachment with ancestral land, and how it was distorted by the Communist movement that preached the concept of communal ownership of land rather than private ownership. This metaphorical shift from individual to collectivity is excellently portrayed in the movie through the use of traditional Chinese songs and Communist propaganda songs, as well as through the representation of traditional Chinese beliefs through folkloric elements. In conclusion, Yellow Earth is an excellent film that captures the essence of rural Chinese life and the broader cultural and historical context of China. With a stellar cast and direction, this movie appeals to both the senses and the intellect, and is an excellent example of the art of Chinese cinema.