Thursday, October 28, 2010

Yellow Earth

Definitely a film theme this week. Went to the excellent MOMA cinema to see a key film in China's cinematic history, Yellow Earth, directed by Chen Kaige in 1984. This was one of the first major films to emanate from the so-called Fifth Generation, the initial wave of directors who came out of the re-opened Beijing Film Academy after it had all but closed down during the Cultural Revolution. It not only kicked off Kaige's career (Farewell My Concubine followed later) but also Zhang Yimou's, who was responsible for the cinematography. Anyway, despite a poor print (lots of scratches, and a strange red tint - it should have been renamed Red Earth), it was a good, slow if fairly rudimentary film (it felt more like it was made in the 50s rather than the 80s) about - without going into detail - a soldier collecting folk songs in the poor, arid province of Shaanxi and the effect he has on one particular peasant. Oh yes, and Liz lost two earrings... but the staff found them!

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