Raise the red lantern
Raise the red lantern, a film directed by Zhang Yimou is one of the most beautiful films made in the 1990’s and is known as one of the rare films where the audience members are amazed at the film whilst at the same time are haunted by it for hours. It is a film about pride and jealousy between the four sisters, and is reflected on much of modern China. The reason why Zhang Yimou’s film had such and effect on the audience was because of the techniques he used.
One of the techniques used by Zhang Yimou which has an effect on the audience is the use of colours in the film, especially red. Even though red is the symbol of joy, the mood throughout the whole film is dull and somber, which signifies the colour red as life and death.
The film starts off with Songlian, a well educated daughter, being forced to marry a rich man and being his “concubine” by her stepmother, which gives us an idea that the movie is dull from the beginning. The atmosphere of the film is also known when Songlian moves into the master’s house and still finds it to be dull even though her room is brightly decorated.
Throughout the film we are able to establish the relationship between the master and the fourth sister, Songlian, and also able to realize the film is much like the Chinese society today. (I.e. the master can be seen as the government or the head of government, Songlian is seen as the individual and the family customs are reflected as the laws of the country.) If you break a family custom, you will get punished severely, just like you get punished if you commit a crime.
Another technique used by Zhang Yimou to create Raise the Red lantern is the use of the camera. Throughout the whole film, Chen Zuoquian’s face (the master) is never shown. It is always either covered by curtains or taken from a distance. Because of this, the master is seen as a “patriarchal offstage presence”. This is done...