Red Sorghum

(Hong gao liang, Zhang Yimou, 1987, China)


Chinese director Zhang Yimou (Ju Dou [1990], Raise the Red Lantern [1991]) quickly evolved, throughout the 1980s and '90s, one of the richest, most resonant styles in world cinema.

He combines low-key realistic observation with flamboyant melodrama, vivid lyricism with stark, symmetrical minimalism.

Red Sorghum tells, in an elliptical and allusive fashion, the tale of a young bride (Gong Li), her sedan chair carrier lover, and a collectively run winery.

Like all of the director's work it focuses, with great poignancy and power, on the difficult crossover between the private realm of personal passions and the public realm of a small community's politics.

MORE Zhang: Not One Less

© Adrian Martin 1989

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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