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Red Sorghum(Hong Gao Liang, Zhang Yimou's award film, Gong Li, Jiang Wen, 1987) (1987)

Gong Li , Jiang Wen , Zhang Yimou  |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gong Li, Jiang Wen, Teng Rujun
  • Directors: Zhang Yimou
  • Format: NTSC, DVD, Color
  • Subtitles: English, Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese Chinese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Studio: Guangzhou Xin Sheng Culture Spread Co. Ltd
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 7798934324
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,486 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

The film takes place in a rural village in China's eastern province of Shandong in the 1930s. It is narrated from the point of view of the protagonist's grandson, who reminisces about his grandmother, Jiu'er. She was a poor girl who was sent by her parents into a pre-arranged marriage with an older man. This man, who owned a distillery, suffered from leprosy.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute,sensual,breathtaking and brutal June 9, 2001
By Gengie
Format:VHS Tape
A debut of Zhang Yimou and Gong Li but among the last that I had the chance to watch and all the waiting was absolutely worth it. It was surreal, great cinematography, powerful drama but very sensual and sexy, eventhough you don't directly see the steamy stuff. The cast were great. Not to mention grandpapa (Jiang Wen)was extremely HILARIOUS and FUNNY and what a foreboding, muscular hunk too. I can understand why grandmama (Gong Li ) melting and quivering all over ! Yes, Jiang Wen is famous in Asia...perhaps not so in the western world unless you are a world/Chinese cinema fan.
I can imagine him "drooling" when he first laid eye on Grandmama (gorgeous Gong Li). And the song that he sings to Gong Li in the Sorghum field was in fact teasing her and very very funny. In a drunk scene, he was soooooo pathetic, that Gong Li didnt know what to do but to punish him with a broom , had me reeling on the floor laughing myself silly.
Eventhough mandarin is not my first language, I understand most part of the language and the nuance and usage of the word is incredible and made the characters seems really really comical and silly. Excellent !!!
The movie are shot in a hue of reddish orangy glow and the effect was stunning. The first half of the movie basically concentrate on the two lovers and the sorghum field that they work on and their relationship to the staff workers.
The second half of the movie is a totally different subject and rather brutal depicting the arrival of the Japanese invasion including bondage,interrogation and torture.
Lets just say its quite sad and tragic. The period of the Japanese invasion, in which my own grandma and granpa had gone through, often fascinates me and yet it gave me goosebumps.
No doubt, Zhang Yimou is among the best directors in the world.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Barbaric and beautiful June 3, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Although I don't think this is quite as good as some of the other films that master Chinese film maker Zhang Yimou has made--e.g., Raise the Red Lantern (1991); The Story of Qiu Ju (1991); Ju Duo (1990)--Red Sorghum is nonetheless an outstanding film strikingly presented visually and thematically.
Gong Li stars as the betrothed of an old leprous wine maker. The film opens with her being carried in a covered sedan chair to the consummation of her wedding by a rowdy crew from the sorghum winery. It is the 1930s or a little before. They joust her about according to tradition and sing a most scary song about how horrible her life is going to be married to the leprous old man. Through a break in the sedan's enclosure as she sits alone in fear and dread she catches sight of Jiang Wen, a burly, naturalistic man with a piercing countenance. A little later after a bit of unsuccessful highway robbery during which she is released from her confinement, they exchange meaningful glances. The young man doing the voice-over identifies them as his Grandmother and Grandfather. (Obviously the leprous old man is going to miss out!)
Zhang Yimou's technique here, as in all of his films that I have seen, is to tell a story as simply as possible from a strong moral viewpoint with as little dialogue as possible and to rely on sumptuous sets, intense, highly focused camera work, veracious acting by a carefully directed cast, and of course to feature the great beauty of his star, the incomparable and mesmerizing Gong Li. If you haven't seen her, Red Sorghum is a good place to start. Jiang Wen is also very good and brings both a comedic quality to the screen as well as an invigorating vitality. His courageous and sometimes boorish behavior seems exactly right.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nine�s Red Wine October 26, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Red Sorghum is almost two movies in one. The first half is comical and fun-spirited, while the second half (once the Japanese attack China) is full of horror, death, and sadness. There is a lot of symbolism and historical commentary in the movie, and anyone who appreciates Chinese culture and history will probably enjoy the movie.
Red Sorghum is an outstanding movie that is filled with beautiful imagery and lush colors. As I sat watching it, I found myself noticing the red splashes displayed about the screen like a Jackson Pollock painting and hearing the reverberation of numbers. I began to attempt to analyze the symbolism, but lacking the Chinese or Eastern background needed to "feel" the innate meaning, I stumbled over my own thoughts. Nonetheless, I will at least give note to the things that stood out and try my best to give my own impression about what they might mean.
Red, which is the color of luck, and, consequently, the most common color for wedding gowns and gift wrapping, is photographed in Red Sorghum like no other in my memory. From the red gown that graces Gong Li's body to the sun above and from the wine that flows from fired pots to the blood that runs from opened veins, hues of red permeate every inch of the screen. There are many possibilities for the meaning in the movie. It would be too simplistic to say that it means luck, because it just does not fit every circumstance in the movie. More than that, it most often seems to signify the life giving force. Blood is red, as is the nourishment of the wine, the color of the sun's rays upon the land, the sensuousness of the silk wedding gown, etc. The entire first half of the film are celebrations of life and it is filled with basic essences of the spirit and passion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 14 days ago by Cyrus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
DVD quality transfer, some subtitles poorly translated.
Published 18 days ago by Joel E. M. Adler
5.0 out of 5 stars Gong Li's and Yimon Zhang's Breakout Film
I love foreign movies that show how people really lived at a particular point in time. This film shows glimpses of the old Chinese bride-sale system, some great village singing,... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Urbananchorite
1.0 out of 5 stars Movie was good. I have seen this before
Movie was good. I have seen this before. However, the DVD was in poor condition and I could not see the end of it. There were skips, flashes of light, and I could say more. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kathy Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars For the men of the world, Gong Li became identified in all her natural...
it established the niceness of the hearty Northerners and I began to notice how often Shandong offered up brave, strong and kind entertainers appearing in Hong Kong, Taiwan as well... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dwight
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
I really wanted to get this film. Gong Li's face is a landscape of emotions and at this date she was arguably the most beautiful actress in the world! Read more
Published 5 months ago by Maurizio
5.0 out of 5 stars Very touching and uplifting
This is one of my favorite films. It is very inspiring and uplifting. One negative is that the film comes only in VHS. , Stiil,
Video Hound rates it as 3 1/2 starts. Read more
Published 13 months ago by doctork
1.0 out of 5 stars Very very poor picture quality
I have seen this beautifully filmed movie in a theatre and was looking forward to watching it on DVD. However the picture quality is by far the worst I have ever encountered. Read more
Published 13 months ago by MONTANA
3.0 out of 5 stars Soso
I recently read the novel of the same title by Nobel Prize author Mo Yan and was looking forward to the movie. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Judith Ricker
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Zhang Yimou
Vintage Zhang Yimou, even though it's one of his early movies. Great story well acted with terrific cinematography. Reminicent of "Raise the Red Lantern".
Published 16 months ago by A.Brian
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