Huangtudi Essay

2439 Words Sep 3rd, 2013 10 Pages
Does the film Huang tudi (Yellow Earth) offer a critique of the Communist revolution? If so where and how?

Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou’s Yellow Earth is a meaningful and controversial film that highlights the young and old, realist and idealist, as well as the ideal utopia and bounded bureaucracies – touching on the notion of fate. Set in early 1939 in China, Yellow Earth follows the story of Gu Qing, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) soldier sent out among the peasants in Northern Shaanxi to collect folksongs, to which the Communists intend to rewrite new lyrics to help inspire soldiers and peasant followers to fight the Japanese invasion and work towards the revolution. Gu Qing comes across a village holding a wedding procession and is
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San Cong Si De epitomises the notion of the traditional female virtues in China at the time, which Cuiqiao is tied to.
In the very male oriented and traditional values of the village, Gu Qing presented himself as a catalyst for change in the eyes of Hanhan and more particularly, Cui qiao. Both Hanhan and Cuiqiao are attracted to the promises of the CR for a better life; especially intriguing to Cuiqiao are the promises of better equality for women – that women under the CR can learn to read, write, and even fight. This is reflected in the scene when Cuiqiao notices Gu Qing’s ability to sew his own clothes. She tells him she is impressed by his ability, to which he replies that women in the South (Communist camp) cut their hair, and become soldiers to fight against the Japanese, just like men.

Hanhan’s character in the film appears to be subtly comical, as well as rather silent and expressionless throughout the majority of the film. As Hanhan got more acquainted with Gu Qing, he also got more verbal. This reflects Hanhan’s possible oppression of being unable to voice his own opinions, as well as suggesting his character being overwhelmed by his living condition and social boundaries. He appears to be a caring brother to Cuiqiao, but is helpless in verbally aiding his sister’s pre-prescribed life of forced marriage and duties as a female. Hanhan’s character becomes closer to Gu Qing, allowing him to open up – We see scenes of Hanhan and Gu Qing being

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