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T500FC, 424th: Hong Gao Liang [Red Sorghum] (Yimou Zhang, 1988)

March.22.2011

A distinctively themed film full of scarlet-filled scenes as greatly portrayed by the simple use of wine, or Red Sorghum, as it is called in the film; with the invigorating redness of the alcoholic drink comes the great mix of the joy of the simple lifestyle of drinking against the heartlessness of war.

The movie is about a woman who inherits a winery, which shows the transition of the said place to her; then there are the implications of such change, which greatly affects on how the employees treat a former nobody to their boss. With the initial unpleasantness between the woman and the employees, everything turns out right as everything progresses where it falls to the right places. With the supposed lover of the woman telling the story, which is shown in the initial scenes of the film, the story unfolds to a more grim nature.

I am not that fond of Chinese films that portray their simple lifestyle. Yes, there is serenity in such but the intake of too much of it, tends to make my stomach full of it, and if the brim is full, puking might commence. Maybe, the Asian cinema mostly borrows and follows alongside one another, except films from Japan and India, and it is in our culture to feature such.

Now, the movie doesn’t really fall into that hole. It was quite different and the movie is definitely slow as it mainly focused on the fun behind drinking and making the alcoholic drink. It was one of those moments that look like a scene in the Lords of the Ring book version, where they just sit down in the forest and joyous with the affair. Where everything looks okay and the supposed heightened parts of the film are the initial scene, where the woman is being teased by the workers who were carrying her, and the part where the guy barges into the winery and mocks the new owner of the said place.

But what makes this film distinct is the fact that this is actually a war film. It eventually came to a surprise when the war came and its gruesomeness was portrayed, where the guy had to skin the suspected guerilla alive. This film was kind of different since the set-up was obviously light and the suspense was quite quick unlike Hollywood, where they focus more on war, most of the time.

It was such a great experience to see this. I may say that sometimes you just have to watch a film from start to end. It was just lucky for me where this movie was just enough for my liking.

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