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Analysis of 'Raise the Red Lantern'

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Yi-Mou Zhang 's Raise the Red Lantern, is a beautiful and brilliantly made film in its own right. If, however, the team of Orson Welles and Greg Toland had produced the same film it would take on an entirely different look and feel. The film would reflect Wells love for creating physical representations of thematic metaphors and the long take and Toland 's brilliant use of deep space photography and mobile framing. Under the direction of the Wells-Toland team, the film would take on subtle, yet significant differences from the very beginning. In the opening scene, with Songolian and her stepmother, the focus of the camera would still be a medium close up of Songolian; but, the previously unseen mother would now be seen in the extreme…show more content…
As the lanterns are being lit, the central chandelier above the bed would probably be shot from a bird 's eye perspective as it was being lowered and then a floor shot as it was being raised. The change in distance would make Songolian seem even smaller in the huge room, a tiny woman surrounded buy countless, huge red lanterns signifying the family traditions. When the husband is finally introduced into the film, the W-T team would shoot the husband as a faceless character, just as Zhang had done. The technical difference, however would be that W-T, would use a shot/reverse-shot sequence with the husband in order to better display the distance between himself and Songolian. This would be a perfect opportunity for Toland 's mastery of the use of deep space. Shooting close to the husband from below shoulder level toward Songolian would create a better physical metaphor for the emotional distance between the two. Frequently in the film there are shots of the inner court-areas of the houses of various wives, shown with the red lanterns burning against the darkness of the night. Zhang, in his version, shoots these from a high angle and the camera is fixed in the inner courtyard. W-T would shoot this as a tracking shot, moving from a high angle shot of at least one of the dark inner courts and then pulling back to pan across the darkened compound, then moving to another high angle shot of the court with the lit lanterns. There are frequently points
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