Filmmaker Yimou Zhang



Dear netizens,


For this week, I have got another admirable individual I want to introduce you to. You must have seen one of his films before or at least heard of them. This creator is Zhang Yimou. 

Zhang Yimou was born in the 2nd of April 1950, he is a Chinese filmmaker that receive huge recognition from the west and challenged the censorship rules of China. He is counted to be from the fifth generation of filmmakers in china. 

His films are recognised for having strong colour palettes, and his vibrant colours distinguish him from other creators. Zhang Yimou dabbles in themes as the resilience  of Chinese people in the face of hardships,  which can be seen in his film 'Not One Less'.

Several of Zhang Yimou's films were banned in his homeland, which led for outside viewers - mainly from the west -  to recognise his work. He begun his journey as a cinematographer in 1984, after graduating on 1982 from the Beijing Film Academy, with his first film 'Yellow Earth'. The film Yellow Earth introduced contemporary Chinese cinema to a wide western audience. 

In 1987, Zhang Yimou directed his first film, Red Sorghum, where the Singaporean-Chinese actress Gong Li first appeared. She played the role of a young woman who was sold into marriage. Gong Li was often casted by Zhang Yimou in roles where she played the oppressed woman by the rules of feudal societies, which is mainly the most theme Zhang Yimou's films tackles. 


In Raise The Red Lantern, Songlian (played by Gong Li), a young girl that is forced out of school due to poverty and the death of her father, so she marries into a rich man, Master Chen, and becomes his fourth mistress. 



The film tackles issues related to the female role in China and their part in society during the 1920s. As depicted in the film, a woman had to clearly obey their husband's rules without any objections and to accept the ill-treatment casted upon them. 

Raise the red lantern, a film filled with bright colours and a very distinct colour schemes stands out and conveys this very emotional story with care and passion. It manages to illustrate the character's feelings and transports the viewer into Chen's household. Everything in this film is well thought of from the storyline to the costume designs.



A woman's fate monologue, a scene from Raise the red lantern, is one minute long, but in this one minute we see Songlian giving away everything to please society's expectations. She makes the decision herself, nevertheless, through this well acted emotional scene we can feel how Songlian was forced into this corner. 

The theme of this film is the reason behind why it was banned in China when it first debuted. It deals with issues such as; the lack of education provided for woman and the limitation of their role in society. Raise the red lantern highly criticises Chinese culture, Confucianism and domestic life.


Yimou Zhang will continue to create stunning movies for his world wide audience, even if he has lost a bit of his edge as he grew older.




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