The Road Home
The Road Home Review
The Road Home was a heartwarming movie. Throughout the film, the concepts of guanxi, burial ritual, social hierarchy of china, roles and relationships, gift giving, traditional family roles, and the urbanization of China. These concepts gave us a greater understanding of China, both traditionally and in modern times.
We could see in this movie that guanxi was a huge part of Chinese culture. We saw this the most with the young girl trying to charm the young teacher. Because they had no guanxi, she couldn't just walk to up to him and flirt with him. She had to wait for the perfect time to sneer up on him and make it seem like their meeting was just a strange coincidence. One day she finally walked past him and dropped a basket, and from then on was able to start a Guanxi with him. Once e initial Guanxi was made, sphe was then able to approach him more often, like remind him that he was supposed to eat at her house, and inviting him over to eat again. The teacher then tried to reciprocate this Guanxi by giving her a hairpin. Throughout this movie, we can see that Guanxi plays a key role in the relationships of Chinese people.
Another concept which also appeared in the film was the traditional burial ritual of China. Even though no one in the town had practiced the full burial rituals for a few decades, the old mother was determined to have a traditional burial for her husband. She played her role well by being the key mourner and person that was most sad about the death. She also knew more about the traditional rites than the men. Everyone in the town agreed because the teacher was well respected and had a high social status among the people. His funeral rite included the young men of the village carrying his casket back home, though the cold winter, so that the father's spirit would not forget the way home. Thei was important for the liminal phase of a spirit leaving its body. If the sprit was unfamiliar with its surroundings, it might become evil and full of bad chi. But because the people of the village were careful in helping the teacher get accustomed to the afterlife, they alive intend the problem of him being angry or haunting them. From this film we can clearly see the importance of burial ritual in the minds of Chinese people.
Social hierarchy of china was shown clearly in the film. The people in the village all did not know how to read or write, so they were on a lower level on the social totem pole than the teacher was. When the teacher tried to go get water so he could see the girl, he was forbidden by another man in the village. Because he was a learned man, he was above doing manual labour like the rest of the men in the village. The other people in the village also respected him because of his knowledge and the fact that he could teach their children how to read and write. Also, when the young man came to eat at the young woman's house, the grandma could sense that the girl was trying to flirt with the young man. The grandma did not approve of this, because she knew that the teacher was in a much higher social class than them, and that people from different social classes shouldn't usually get married. Even though the couple seemd to defy social norms, this film still gave us a special look on the social hierarchy of traditional China.
The concept of relationships changing depending on our societal role was also shown in the film. I think that the best example of this was of the young girl, contrasted in the two different times. As a young girl, she obeyed her grandma, but was carefree otherwise. She often mingled with the other single girls in the village to gossip about the men in the village. Also, she would pine away in the forests, trying to find the teacher or waiting for him to come back. Then, when her role changed to a mother and wife, her relationships with others changed. Now she was stubborn and told the other people in the village what to do, such as carry the father back home. Also she insisted in making a a new red cloth for her husband. With the transformation of the young girl, we can see that in Chinese culture depending on your role in society, you also have different relationships with others.
Another concept that we discussed in class that was also portrayed in the film was that of gift giving. We saw this most with the exchanges between the young teacher and young girl. When the young girl made food for the workers that were making the school, she hoped that the teacher would take it, because he gift carried her essence on it. By aorta king of her food, he would then somehow be able to make a connection with her. Also, the young teacher gave the girl a hairpin. This hairpin represented their guanxi and strengthened their bond. When she lost the hairpin, she was devastated because it represented their relationship and his essence, so when she lost it she essentially lost him. Also, when she was a girl and for his funeral she made a fine red piece of cloth for her husband. She made it as fine as she could, because it represented the good feelings that she had for him and their relationship. This movie clearly showed how gift giving was an important part of Chinese relationships and culture.
In this film, the traditional Chinese family roles that we discussed in class were also shown in this movie. At the bringing of the movie, we could see that all the young men in the village were chosen to build the school, while the young women were chosen to make food for the men. These separate roles show how men and women had different tasks in society. Also, when the teacher came to visit the young girl made the food for him and for her elderly mother. She also was the one who went to get water every day. This shows that women in ancient Chinese society were often put to housework, while men did manual labour, or in the case of the teacher men could do more specialised jobs such as be a teacher. We also could, see that men could be repairmen, like of porcelain bowls. This movie truly gave us an in-depth view of traditional family roles in china.
From the reading, we also learned about the modern urbanisation of China, which was also shown in the film. At the beginning of the film, we could see that the village was full of older people. This is because most of the young people in the village had gone to the cities to work, where there was more opportunities to make money. Also, because of the one child policy, the teacher and his wife could only have one son. This was probably true for the rest of the village as well, meaning that there were many old people in the village but few young people to take care of them. We could also see that because technology such as cars, many of the ancient tradition as such as the ritual fl carrying a body back home were forgotten, in favour of just driving the body Ina car. This film truly gave us a unique perspective on the recent urbanisation of modern china.
This film, The Road Home, gave us a unique perspective on traditional and postmodern China. Besides being an entertaining love story, this film also showed us many aspects of Chinese culture, many of which we discussed already in class, such as guanxi, burial ritual, social hierarchy of china, roles and relationships, gift giving, traditional family roles, and the urbanisation of China. Seeing these concepts in context in this film truly gave us a deeper and more complete understanding of Chinese culture.
Chinese Civil War
The Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War was one of the most decisive outcomes in Chinese history. China as we know it today would certainly be a different place if the Nationalists had won; there would be different political policies, more social freedoms, and perhaps we would have more cultural connections with China in general. Perhaps one would wonder why the Communist Party instead of a free democracy rules China, and why, even with the support from the American government, the Republic of China could not defeat the Communists. I contend that the Communists gained an advantage over the Nationalists because of events related to the Second Sino-Japanese War. The circumstances created by Second Sino-Japanese War helped the Communist Party to rest and prepare their troops, gave them possession of Manchuria, and helped them gain favor in the eyes of the people. These key advantages for the Communists were indispensable in helping them win the Chinese Civil War.
In order to better understand the Communists’ advantages in the war; I would first like to explain the history and background leading up to the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Chinese Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars over fought. Over 8 million people died in total, making in the third biggest war in history by sheer number of casualties. The part of the war that I am discussing deals with events after the fall of the Qing Dynasty, and during the conflict between the Communist party and the Nationalist Party, or Republic of China. The Civil War between them started on April 12, 1927; Chiang Kai-shek decided that the Communist Party and leftists were a disruption to the government and should be done away with, in what was known as the Shanghai massacre. Many Communists were killed, and the most faithful in the party fled to western China, in what is known as the long march. Fighting continued until the Japanese invaded China in1937, during which both sides aligned forces to fight the Japanese. When World War 2 ended in 1945, the Japanese surrendered. In Manchuria, the Japanese handed their weapons and supplies over to the Soviets. The Communists would later take advantage of these circumstances.
The Japanese surrender of Manchuria was critical to the Communist victory. Originally, the Communists fought alongside the Kuomintang against the Japanese during World War 2. However, after the Japanese surrender, the Communists entered Manchuria through the northeast with only a few men. The Kuomintang forces themselves were not able to go in immediately because of the Soviet forces occupying the territory. But the Communists won the favor of the Soviets, who then essentially handed Manchuria over to them. “Having the political sympathy of the occupying Soviet forces…and the protection of a ‘truce,’ the Communists were able to build up a tremendous stock of arms upon which Mao could found his plan to conquer China,” (Liu 253). The land, weapons, and support of local people that the Communists gained from Manchuria would give them an advantage that would propel them to ultimate victory. The Communists’ takeover of Manchuria was perhaps one of the most decisive actions that they performed in the Chinese Civil War. Before their capture of Manchuria, the Communists seemed to be in a losing struggle against the ROC. However, after the capture of this land, the Communists’ power continually increased. As one historian put it, “Of all decisions of the postwar period, none seem to be of greater historical significance than the National Governments resolve to reoccupy Manchuria,” (Liu 255). This proved to be the turning point in the war; the stockpile of weapons, men and land that the Communists gained in Manchuria gave them an advantage that would lead them to ultimate victory.
Because of the help from the Soviets in giving the Communists Japanese weapons and facilities, the Communist armies were greatly strengthened. They were also able to rest and prepare their troops for the coming war. The Soviets helped the Communists in this way because of their common political ideas, which were closely aligned with Soviet communism. At the same time, the Soviets also prevented the Kuomintang forces from entering into Manchuria. “Soviet sympathy for the Chinese Reds prompted them to deny the Nationalists the use of port facilities…giving the Communists time to organize in the area, to consolidate their local control, and to equip a military force with former Japanese weapons,” (Liu 255). The Soviets provided the Communists precious time to organize their forces and prepare for the coming war. During this time, the Communist troops received some training, and the Communists had time to recruit and send out propaganda among the local people. With a safe haven within Manchuria, the Communists were able to launch a well-organized counter attack that would prove detrimental to the Kuomintang.
The Communists gained favor in the eyes of the local people while occupying Manchuria, which proved to be crucial in defeating the Kuomintang. The Communists propaganda strategies were much more effective than the Nationalists. The local Chinese people had just spent years fighting off their Japanese enemies and were sick and tired of war. “The Communists saw the necessity of winning whatever support could be achieved and they expended more energy on the effort than did the Nationalists,” (Liu 249). The Communists spread the idea that Chinese shouldn’t be warring with other Chinese; this notion proved to be a major cause for Nationalist propaganda to not resonate in hearts of the people. The local people, especially in Manchuria, after fighting a long bloody war with the Japanese, whom they despised, wanted a peaceful China. Fighting other Chinese seemed naturally wrong to them, since they had spent so much time defeating a common foe. Because of the fatigue of Sino-Japanese War, the Communists gained many faithful followers.
During the period after the Second Sino-Japanese War, economic downturn also turned the many people in the Chinese populous against the KMT. A lot of money and supplies had been spent during the wars, which influenced the economic downturn. As much as economic downturn helped the Communists, it hurt The Nationalists just as much. This widespread economic breakdown and depression weakened the ability for the ROC to rule and control China. One historian paints the economic scene thus, “Equally or more important was Chiang’s failure to run the country effectively…city dwellers sometimes needed wheelbarrows full of nearly worthless currency to buy rice” (Wasserstrom 53). This kind of economic instability would surely cause alarm to the citizens of China. The economy was a mess, and the people wanted a change. They believed Chiang Kai-shek and the ROC were handling things wrong, and they felt that Mao and the Communists could do a better job. Also, the people, including those in the Nationalist Party, became discouraged. Because of this snowball event rising from a bad economy, the Communists gained favor and give hope to the people.
The Communists did not only just gain favor in the eyes of peasant class, but also many from the wealthy classes as well. After the Second Sino-Japanese War, many wealthy and influential Chinese switched to support the Communists. “The main immediate benefit of the Second United Front was the adherence of many patriotic urban intellectuals to the Communist cause,” (Dreyer 249). These people from the wealthier classes helped to organize and support the Communist effort. During the Second-Sino Japanese War, the Communists made many military victories, which helped them to gain the reputation of a patriotic and loyal band, and thus they won the hearts of Chinese people. Overall, the Communists were more controlled and obedient that the Kuomintang as well. Even though their army was made mostly of unlearned peasants, they were unified and more controllable than the well trained Kuomintang. “The main elements of People’s War continued to be a politically motivated and organized peasantry,” (Dreyer 350). The peasants came together to form a very advanced and tactical military that was able to overthrow the Kuomintang. The combined effort from all classes of society helped to build the Communist Party into an unstoppable force.
The Communists also gained favor with members within the Kuomintang, which proved detrimental to the KMT. Thus during the second part of the Chinese Civil War, the Communists defeated their opponents by breaking down the Nationalist Party from the inside out. There were a number of dissenters from the KMT that fled to the Communists. For instance, the Communists planned to kidnap Chiang Kai-shek with help from people inside the party. “Someone had asked the general himself in person whether he was going back to Whampoa…the person involved was none other than Chen Pih-chun, wife of Ching Wei, chairman of the council of National Government” (Kwei vii). These kinds of political scandals and intrigue crippled the KMT. People in the party were softening toward the Communists. The members of the KMT were also sick of fighting. After the Japanese war, the generals were more interested in dividing the spoils. “The much needed unity of command waned, and there was an increasing reluctance in the various commanders to render that unswerving loyalty which the leaders could no longer compel” (Liu 244). People within the KMT army began to be disloyal and hard to control. Many of them just wanted to celebrate the recent victory over the Japanese. The KMT had spent much time and numerous resources in repelling the Japanese, and continuing on fighting the Communists would mean they had to start borrowing money from their allies, which they did. The notion of continuing on the fighting by making war with Communists was not well received by many soldiers. The turmoil within the KMT ended up helping the Communists tremendously.
During the Second Sino-Japanese war, the Communist troops perfected their guerilla warfare tactics, which proved powerfully effective against the Japanese and the Kuomintang. During the war, the Communists often relied on guerilla warfare, as they were vastly outnumbered when compared to Kuomintang troops. “The Communists, for their part, were so delighted, even surprised at their victory and the label of invincibility…that they continued to rely on guerilla tactics that paid off so remarkably in the 1940’s,” (Wilson 184). They were extremely good at hitting the Kuomintang when they were vulnerable, as well as letting less crucial ground to the Kuomintang. But failure in this aspect can also be blamed on the Kuomintang at this time for not using proper strategy and leadership against the Communists. The Kuomintang also did not do their part to sway the people in their favor; the Communist Guerrilla tactics relied heavily on the support of local people to hide them, and to provide new recruits for their army. Because of the Red Army’s success and courage in fighting the Japanese, they gained much support from the people. However, the lack of the peoples’ support in the favor of the ROC would ultimately prove detrimental. “Using guerilla warfare centered on the ideas of nationalism and people’s support to defeat another far superior army, rendering useless its more numerous troops, technologically superior weapons and indefinitely richer supplies,” (Wilson 186). Even though the Communists were outnumbered, their guerilla tactics and support from the general populous helped them overcome a more powerful foe. The Communists guerilla tactics and the Nationalists’ lack of proper counter strategy proved indispensable in the Communist victory.
The defeats of the Nationalists propelled them into loss of morale and created many defectors, which helped in the Communists’ favor exponentially. After some initial losses in Manchuria, many KMT soldiers defected over to the Communists. The KMT was also forced to release many commanding officers, who defected to the Communists. “[The KMT] sent over to the Communist side many troops whom the government could ill afford to lose,” (Liu 256). The less-numerous Communist Red Army used superior army guerilla tactics against the Nationalists, pushing them further and further south, and decreasing the morale of their men. By this time, morale was at an all-time low, and it seemed too late to muster any kind of rally. The KMT strategy against the Communists was fundamentally flawed, but worsened by the fact that the men didn’t want to fight. “Morale dropped to a new low, and the entire disgruntled army seethed with rebellion…one which might have been inspired with that fierce dedication which arises of…lofty principles and personal interests, lost the will to fight,” (Liu 260). Even the cause of freedom and democracy couldn’t motivate the army enough to defeat the incoming Communists. The Communists won not only the physical battle, but they won the hearts of the people, and defeated the democratic principles that the people held onto.
The Communist victory in Manchuria led to the eventual defeat of the KMT. The success and momentum that the Communists gained led them to victory throughout the rest of the war. Chiang Kai-Shek resigned as president during the war; he retired, disgruntled at the many defeats he had faced. But he still retained some power, so the new president, president Li, at the time didn’t have power to do what was necessary. “Li had no unified control over Nationalist China. An able general, Li did not even control the larger portion of the army…What Li needed, the money, the troops, the naval and air support, unity, were all denied him,” (Liu 265). The power inside the Nationalist Government was not concentrated, so no major wartime decisions could be made. Because of this, during Li’s presidency confusion and defeat ensued. The Communists during this time obtained an undeniable upper-hand, which would never be quenched.
The Nationalists were eventually chased out of their capitol at Nanjing to various cities in southern China. Eventually, they were chased to Taipei, on the Island of Taiwan. Although the Communist Party wished to chase them further, the United States prevented them by stationing their Navy at the Formosa straight. Thus, the main part of the war essentially ended. The Communists declared their capitol at Beijing, while the Nationalists declared their capitol at Taipei. Thus China was split between two governments. Over the coming years, the fighting continued over the Formosa straight, but was essentially a stalemate. Now, the situation is complicated between Taiwan and China. Although fighting has stopped and trade has increased, Taiwan is not considered a separate country by many other nations.
There were many factors that led to the Communist victory, but most important was their gains during and after the Second Sino-Japanese War. During the war against the Japanese, they were able to gain the peoples’ favor by showing their valor and patriotism. After the war ended, they were able to take Manchuria, which gave them valuable assets. With control of Manchuria, they had time to train and prepare their armies for the coming war. Because of the recent war with the Japanese, the Chinese were tired of fighting and did not want to fight members of their own country. The following Communist military victories, combined with a morally drained KMT army, and also the peoples’ general distaste toward war crippled the Nationalists. The Communist victories had a snowball effect that grew their power over time. Without the ideal situation handed to them after the Second Sino-Japanese war, the Communists perhaps would never have won the Chinese Civil War.
Dreyer, Edward. China at War 1901-1949. New York: Longman Group Ltd., 1995. 249,350.
Kwei, Chung-Gi. The Kuomintang-Communist Struggle in China 1922-1949. The Hague:
Martinus Nijhoff, 1970. vii. Print.
Liu, F.F. A Military History of Modern China 1924-1929. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1981.
Pike, John, ed. "Chinese Civil War." GlobalSecurity.org. GlobalSecurity.org, 15 Jul 2011. Web.
Wasserstrom, Jeffery N. China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York:
Oxford University Press, 2013. eBook.
Wilson, Dick. China's Revolutionary War. New York: St. Martins Press, Inc., 1991. 184-86.
Confucius, a Concise Biography
Confucius, a Concise Biography was a great film that showed me more into the life and teachings of a great man. I thought that many of Confucius’ ideas resembled western thought and philosophy. Also, he seemed a radical and visionary for his day. Despite the situation in China now, he is still the biggest influence on the Chinese people and culture ever.
I thought many of his ideas and teachings resembled the teachings of Jesus. Some of his teachings that resembled the Savior were his advice to love everyone, and get to know everyone. Another teaching was that we should treat others as we would want to be treated. These are eternal principles that, if a dynasty was built on, would last a long time. I also liked his emphasis on the family and learning from and respecting your elders. Confucius, it seems, was truly an inspired man.
His life also resembled western philosophers such as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. I wonder if there are more Chinese philosophers like him that aren't as famous; it would seem there should be more Chinese philosophers than just one. Maybe he is just the most famous, and so the only one that we ever hear about. Maybe I will research more into other Chinese philosophers to see what kind of contributions they made to Chinese culture.
Confucius seemed like sort of a radical in society in the way he did things. His teachings were in contrast to the greedy and brutal system of government in place at the time. He seemed very different than other Chinese philosophers and government officials. I wonder how was he so well accepted and promoted through time; the film talks about his students writing down his words, but does not address how he later came to influence China in such a huge way and become so famous.
It also seemed that there were a lot of Anti-communist overtones in the film. Mao Zedong was pointed out as one who did not like Confucius ideas. China was a recluse to the world until recently; apparently recently the government has just allowed Confucius temples to open? Confucius is still an influence today no matter what the government does; it seems his teachings are inseparably ingrained into Chinese thought and philosophy.
Auteur Film Theory: Zhang Yimou
Auteur Film Theory: Zhang Yimou
Zhang Yimou is one of the most renowned Chinese filmmakers of all time. According to Michael Berry, “No other director in China has generated as much respect, adoration, controversy, and criticism as Zhang Yimou” (Berry 110). The auteur film theory, one that claims that the director has main artistic influence on a film, seems to fit Zhang Yimou and his vast collection of work. His films are similar because of his unique use of color, cinematography, literary adaptation, portrayals of oppression, and social criticism. Although not all of his movies are the same, in this paper I will prove that Zhang Yimou fits the auteur film theory because of the many similar structural and narrative features that reoccur in his films.
One common structural element that seems to be a part of all of Zhang Yimou’s movies is his emphasis on color. In Yellow Earth, in which he was cinematographer, the color pallet was mainly plain except for red as in the wedding ceremony and Cuiqiao’s coat. His work as cinematographer clearly influenced his later work, and emphasis on the color red was also seen in The Road Home when Zhang Ziyi’s character Di was making a red banner for the school, a sign of good luck. Red was also an important color in Raise the Red Lantern; it was the color of the lanterns and symbolized power given to the wife that evening, as well as tradition. Also in To Live the color red was used to represent death at the end of each period of time when Fugui’s friend, his son, his daughter died. Zhang Yimou also used color to denote a change in seasons or time as in Hero, where for each version of the story the costumes change to a different color. There was also a similar color pallet change throughout House of Flying Daggers as the seasons changed. In Michael Berry’s interview with Zhang Yimou, he asks him specifically regarding his use of colors. Mr. Zhang says, “I don't have a real logical explanation for my attraction to colors…perhaps it has to do with my personality or disposition, or maybe my background growing up” (Berry 116). Although Zhang Yimou may not have a specific reason for using colors as such an integral part of his movies, it is clear that they do help define his films. Zhang Yimou’s creative use of color throughout his films provides us with clear evidence that he fits the criteria for the auteur film theory.
In many of his films, Zhang Yimou also seems to use literature adaptations that portray characters that were repressed by some kind of social or political power. Tragic characters such as Fugui in To Live, Songlian in Raise the Red Lantern, Cuiqiao in Yellow Earth, the nameless hero in Hero, and also Mei in House of Flying Daggers. In all of these films the main character either dies or suffers a great loss in their lives. These films also often deal with the empowerment of women against traditional norms or political power such as Flying Snow in Hero, Songlian in Raise the Red Lantern, Di in The Road Home, and Mei in House of Flying Daggers. Also Zhang Yimou casts many of the same actors to play these roles, such as Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi; he was influential in launching both of these actresses’ careers. Most of his screenplays are adaptations of Chinese literature, with some exceptions such as Hero and House of Flying Daggers. Of his many literature adaptations Zhang Yimou has said, “Literature has had an extremely powerful impact on my work, but at the end of the day, I always feel that I am only a director.” (122). From this passage Zhang Yimou illustrates his need to use other peoples’ literary works, but ultimately he adds his own artistic vision on the film. The many common narrative and story features in his films point to Zhang Yimou as the ultimate author.
Some would say that Zhang Yimou’s earlier films were more critical of Chinese government and politics, but recently they have eased in social criticism. His earlier fifth generation films such as Yellow Earth, Raise the Red Lantern, and To Live prominently feature social criticism, especially of the communist government. In Yellow Earth, the soldier Guqing gathers songs that are eventually of no use, showing the inefficiency of the CCP; also the many long shots and the drought show the CCP’s powerlessness compared to nature. In Raise the Red Lantern it features a microcosm of Chinese society under communist rule; the wives seemed to represent different groups of people in Chinese society. The first wife seemed to represent those that were submissive and did not question authority, the second wife seemed to represent true Maoists, the third wife seemed to represent the rebels that were killed, and the fourth wife seemed to represent silenced intellectuals. In To Live, we see many hardships in Fugui’s life because of communist rule. He tries to avoid any situation that would label him counter-revolutionary, and so forces his tired son to a school event where he is accentually killed. Also at the time of his grandson’s birth, the Cultural Revolution had forced doctors out of the hospitals, so his daughter dies in labor. At the end of the film, Fugui doesn’t say communism will bring greatness, as he did to his son earlier; this is similar to Yellow Earth when Cuiqiao is cut off in her song and doesn’t say the full name of the communist party. In all of these films Zhang Yimou surely was trying to express some political criticism against the CCP and of the Cultural Revolution.
Even though Zhang Yimou’s fifth generation films were often featured social criticism, in recent films such as The Road Home, Hero, and House of Flying Daggers Zhang Yimou seems to avoid these political issues and cater to western audiences. In response to this criticism he has said, “The most attractive subject matter for me to make films about is the Cultural Revolution” (Berry 129). From this passage we can see that the Cultural Revolution is a subject very close to Zhang Yimou’s heart that he wishes to portray. However presently there is a ban in China on making films about the Cultural Revolution; for instance his film To Live was banned for this reason (129). Some critics think that his recent films are an attempt to cater foreign markets and the Chinese government, but it seems that the real reason for this shift is that he has been working under censorship constraints. His films do seem to be catering to western audiences and to the CPP. However his recent films still have many of his key artistic characteristics; Hero and House of Flying daggers still feature his signature use of cinematography, color, and repressed figures. It does seem that Zhang Yimou is unable to openly portray the Cultural Revolution in recent films, although they still stylistically belong to him.
Zhang Yimou’s films are most all distinctly Zhang Yimou, and have similar artistic characteristics. Of his films Zhang Yimou said, “All of my films may have been successes or failures, but at the very least, they were all my films; I had an attachment to each one and was really involved with every aspect of the production.” (Berry 126). From this passage it is clear that Zhang Yimou is not a passive director, but a hands-on artist with a lot of power over the final artistic product of his films. Although Zhang Yimou’s films are all different, they all have similar themes and were heavily influenced by his artistic style. His use of color, cinematography, literary adaptation, and depictions of repressed figures and political ideals show throughout most of his films. Zhang Yimou’s films can surely be considered to fit the auteur film theory.
Berry, M. (2005). Zhang Yimou: Flying Colors. In Speaking in images: Interviews with
Contemporary Chinese filmmakers. 110-36. New York: Columbia University Press.
This essay won 1st place at the Chinese essay contest at my university.
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