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China, 1987 (MIFF 1988, Asian Cinema Showcase)

Director: Zhang Yimou

Former cincmatographer Zhang Yimou makes an impressive directional debut with this lush rural epic based on renowned Shangdong author Mo Yan's short story. Set during the Sino-Japanese war in the barren wilderness of Northern China, it's the simple story of how an offscreen narrator's grandparents came to meet and fall in love.

She, as a young woman, is married off to a leprous old man who is mysteriously murdered Undeterred, the enterprising widow takes on the management of her late husband's distillery, famous for producing a distinctive red wine extracted from the sorghum plant which grows tall and wild in the surrounding fields A relationship is also established between the new manageress and the sedan carrier who has saved her life. All appears to be going productively well until the advent of the Sino Japanese War and the abrupt, bloody appearance of ferocious foreign invaders This splendid concoction of sexual passion, heroism and larger-than-life characters gains added dimension from Gu Changwci's stunning Cinemascope camerawork. In every sense, a grand show, perhaps a great one.

“This film is told as a legend since its mixture of fact and fiction make the plot more enjoyable, it also makes allowances for the more fantastic elements in the narrative.”

“The sadness and joy in the relationships between men and women arc still captivat¬ing to filmgoers At the red sorghum fields at Green Killer's Crossing ' my grandpa" and "my grandma ' burn with passion for each other This film expresses the intensity of their emotions.” - Zhang Yimou

Winner Best Film, 1988 Berlin Film Festival

See also...


Acclaimed Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou - a 'Fifth Generation' master of Chinese cinema whose films include Raise the Red Lantern and Red Sorghum - has delivered a gentle comedy of manners and morals. More »


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Zhang Yimou has followed up his delirious Red Sorghum (a 1988 Festival highlight) with another quintessentially Chinese tale of desire and its traps. ... Ju Dou (played by luminous Gong Li, Zhang's ... More »


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The follow up to Huang Jianxm's very successful first feature Black Cannon Incident, is a decidedly different type of film, that even those familiar with the new developments in Chinese cinema may ... More »


One of the most startling things about The Big Parade is how little its formal and visual qualities resemble Chen's internationally acclaimed debut feature, Yellow Earth. But perhaps the most salient ... More »

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