Third Cinema in China: Yellow Earth Essay

1822 Words8 Pages
Third Cinema in China: Yellow Earth What is identified as 'excess' in Western cinematic experience is, therefore, precisely where we locate Third World cinema. -Teshome Gabriel The possibility of a Third Cinema in China is encouraged with Chen Kaige's 1984 film Yellow Earth. Drawing upon Teshome Gabriel's framework, a working definition of Third Cinema is possible in the case of Chinese cinema. The "fifth generation" of China's film-makers is credited in making films such as Yellow Earth, Farewell my Concubine, and The Blue Kite, as well as Raise the Red Lantern and Red Sorghum. While not all films made by the fifth generation are necessarily of a Third Cinema, many of them offer critique, drawing upon tactics to raise social or…show more content…
One may even suggest that Yellow Earth is an 'avant-gardist' attempt by young Chinese film-makers taking cover under the abstractionist ambiguities of Classical Chinese painting. Chinese film-makers, still confronted with censorship or the potential banning of a work, realize the need to speak in a new, different "Chinese" film language than drawing upon Western models. Western forms proved unconducive to the Chinese condition. Therefore by drawing upon indigenous art forms, a Chinese cinema to speak to the Chinese in their own language better articulates, in the case of Yellow Earth, the condition of rural poverty. The natural world is better represented through Chinese painting aesthetics adopted by the camera. Vastness of the land, of what Gabriel call the "mass' of the Third World, is propelled to the screen through extremely long shots. Yimou's extensive use of long shots in Yellow Earth place characters in relation to the world in which they live and work. Often, characters are no more than abstract figures walking along foot paths in the hills or at the meeting of sky and earth at the horizon. The land is the rural people's domain, but unlike the West, they do not dominate and control the land. They live within it. In other words: The spiritual quality achieved in the supreme Chinese landscape and nature paintings is a feeling of harmony with the universe in
Open Document