Color Analysis in Raised the Red Lantern Essay

Decent Essays
Color Emphasis in Raise the Red Lantern

Chen Ning (Jenny) Yen
ASIA 355
Professor Rui Wang

Scholars and film critiques have often regarded the fifth-generation film Director, Zhang Yi Mou’s films as a visually sensual feast (Zhu 26). The predominant use of the color Red in his highly stylized films: Red Sorghum (1988), Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern (1991) are evidence of his trademark visual style thus leading scholars to critically analyze the symbolic representation of the color. I would argue however, in addition to the prevalent use of red in his art-house films, there are several supporting colors (black, white, grey, blue), intertwining with the color red. Zhang seems
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When protagonist Songlian is asked to visit her fellow sisters, it is important to note that there are no lanterns in 1st mistress’s bedroom. This automatically eliminates her from the battle of lanterns, and may be reasoned for her age and the fact that she has already given the master a son, fulfills her filial duties as a wife.

According to Kong, “Red in Chinese culture symbolizes ‘luck’ and ‘popularity’ and is commonly used in important rituals and ceremonies…the color red is a vital signifier that is often charged with a special ironic power” (123). Red is often associated with passion and lust, though the latter is true to this film, the symbolic representation of red amount to sexuality as a means of gaining political power within the Chen household. The dining table scene where 3rd mistress arrives fashionably late dressed in a bright red gown shows that she currently holds the power in the amongst the four mistresses. This power , once acquired comes with the consequence of being objectified under the red light to the master’s male gaze. Hence referring back to Kong who mentions the power these women gain is ironic. Their victory is the attention of the master’s affection for one night. This further emphasizes the lack of power and importance women have under the Confucian ideologies. Perhaps the red tones
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