Red Sorghum Analysis - 1236 Words (2022)

Red Sorghum Analysis - 1236 Words (1)

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Topics: Woman, Gender, Marriage, Gender role, Love, Feminism

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This film analysis will define the theme of sexual liberation for women in the symbolic use of the color red in Red Sorghum (1987) by Zhang Yimou. Zhang’s film uses the color red to symbolize the sexual freedom of Jiu-er (Gong Li) to break down the patriarchal tradition of forced marriage in Chinese feudal society. The red wine and the red sorghum depicted in the film represents the passions of a woman that is impregnated by a bandit before her marriage day. Traditionally, Jiu-er is a young woman that must marry a much older man, yet her virginity is violated before she is married. Afterwards, she becomes impregnated as a symbol of the passions of infidelity with the bandit, which also defines the use of red in the production of wine in the …show more content…
The strict moral codes of Chinese feudal society often forced women to marry men much older than themselves. However, Zhang chooses to allow the seductive and passionate freedom of women. Such as Jiu-er, to become “realized” in terms of the symbolic use of red to denote the environment in which she lives. Certainly, the illicit sexual encounter that Jiu-er experiences is not chosen, but she is fulfilled in not losing her virginity to the leprous old man that she has been forced to …show more content…
The color red is symbolic of the sexual liberation of Jiu-er’s passions through an illicit sexual encounter with the rescuer/lover at the beginning of the film. In feudal China, the dominance of patriarchal forced marriages had enslaved Jiu-er to a marriage with a leprous old man that owned a wine distillery. Before Jiu-er’s marriage to Li Datou, she is kidnapped and forced to have sex with the rescuer/lover in the red sorghum fields. The red fields represent the symbolic freedom of he sexuality with a person her own age, and more so, outside of the institutional regulations of marriage. After she becomes pregnant, the death of Li Datou is also symbolic of the death of marital enslavement, which allows her to become the owner of the distillery. The lover/rescuer becomes part of her life, as she works amongst the red coloration of wine production as a reminder of their passion. These aspects of feminist sexual liberation as a major part of the symbolic use of the color red that Zhang utilizes in this film. These are the important aspects of feminism in Red Sorghum that are symbolically identified with the sexual freedom of women in this style of Fifth Generation Chinese

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