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Chinese Interpretation of Various Aspects of Life through the Film titled Red Cliff Essay

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Updated: Nov 20th, 2019

The ancient Chinese film titled Red Cliff showcases Chinese epic war. The film’s concepts were borrowed from the battle of red cliffs and occurrences, which took place during the final stages of Han Dynasty. In addition, the film was produced just before the emancipation of the famous Chinese three kingdoms.

The film symbolizes the Chinese interpretation of various aspects of life such as the relationship between man and nature, and the relationship between an individual and the state. This paper endeavors to analyze how the film Red Cliff displays the Chinese interpretation of various aspects of life, most importantly, the relationship between man and nature, and the relationship between an individual and the state.

An Overview of Battle of Red Cliffs

The battle of red cliffs marked the end of the Han Dynasty. A great warrior known as Cao Cao led his group from the South and fought with his rivals who were led by Liu Cong. As a result, Liu Cong gave up Jing Province (McCurry 5). This was a significant achievement for Cao Cao.

After Cao Cao had captured Jing Province, other rivals united to oppose him. Lu Su and Lie Bei combined and formed a strong force that fought Cao Cao’s men at Red Cliffs (Elley 6). The battle between Cao Cao’s warlords and the combined force consisting of Su and Bei’s supporters is known as the battle of red cliffs. The combined force rattled Cao Cao’s men forcing them to retreat. Consequently, Cao Cao conceded defeat. As a result, Cao Cao flew to the North.

This boosted the strength of Su and Bei’s territories. Cao Cao decided to consolidate his power in the North. Later, another ruler known as Sun fought Cao Cao and captured Jing Province. After the death of Cao Cao, Lu declared himself as the king of Han Dynasty. However, the remnants of the Han Dynasty engaged in various fights until the dynasty collapsed completely. The collapse of the Dynasty paved way for the emergence of the three kingdoms (McCurry 5).

An Overview of the Three Kingdoms

The three Kingdoms is a Chinese historical era, which was mainly characterized by disunity. It occurred immediately after the collapse of Han Dynasty. The Han Dynasty is considered as a significant historical event that has shaped Chinese political and cultural aspects. During the Han Dynasty era, China was divided into various regions, which served as administrative posts (Tang 7). In addition, the country had a number of autonomous kingdoms.

During the Han Dynasty, China realized economic prosperity. The country was divided into three regional markets. They included the Northwest, the North and the Sichuan. In addition, the routes connecting the three markets were manmade, and they were controlled by the government. The government had immense power and it controlled many affairs. When the Han Dynasty collapsed, the three kingdoms emerged.

This period is regarded as the bloodiest in the Country’s history. It was marred with violence as each kingdom fought for supremacy (Tang 7). However, during the three kingdoms period, the county realized numerous technological advancements (Elley 8). The three kingdoms finally collapsed following disagreements between leaders of the rival kingdoms. Many individuals who lived during this period have become legends. The film titled Red Cliff mirrors the events of the battle of red cliff.

A critical Analysis

The first Chinese model explaining the relationship between an individual and the state was documented by Zhang Taiyan (UCP, 2004). Zhang engineered the nationalism concept. Individuals are supposed to put their nation first (UCP 3). This concept is reflected in the film Red Cliff.

In the Film, which is a reflection of the battle of red cliffs, which occurred many centuries ago, each leader puts the country’s interest first. In the film, there are several rival territories each competing for sovereignty as was the case in the battle of red cliffs. For example, the character who mimics Cao Coa aims at solidifying his region’s economic and military prowess.

Thus, he fights his rival, Liu Cong in order to capture Jing province. Jing province was an economic and agricultural centre and any leader wanted to control this province. In the film, Red Cliff, the character who is portrayed as Coa Coa shows nationalism by fighting in order to secure a key economic territory for his kingdom. Likewise, the other leaders like Lu Su and Lie Bei fought for the benefit of their territories. At that time, each territory was seen as an independent state, so each leader strived to protect his territory.

The approach used by Lu Su and Lie Bei in which they formed an allied force to oppose Coa Coa’s rivalry, is also highlighted in the film on Red Cliff. This is another sign of the Chinese interpretation of nationalism. The two leaders, Lu Su and Lie Bei, represent true nationalism by joining forces to conquer the enemy. According to Zhan’s interpretation of nationalism, individuals are supposed to cooperate during hard times (UCP 3).

In addition, the Chinese interpretation with regard to the relationship between man and nature is best explained ecologically. On top of that, the relationship between man and nature is also linked to the Chinese concept of Confucianism. Thus, the respect for humanity is paramount. Since man relies on nature, Chinese believed that nature has to be guarded against harm. This concept is also portrayed in the film Red Cliff.

The rival parties did not interfere with nature. Chinese believe that nature and man are friends and their friendship should not be compromised. Chinese believed that there “is a need to awe the mandate of heaven and the benevolent regarding anything under heaven and on earth as an integral unity” (Meng 1). Chinese tradition with regard to nature has received global fame. The Chinese culture sees man as an integral part of nature.

According to the Chinese tradition, taking life as the essence of benevolence enlivens not only the human consciousness of life, but also an ecology oriented consciousness” (Meng 1). These aspects are portrayed in the film of Red Cliffs. Red Cliff showcases Chinese epic war between rival territories. However, even in the midst of a tough battle, nature is guarded. This is a clear interpretation of the Chinese view with regard to the relationship between man and nature.

Conclusion

This paper has noted that the concepts of the film Red Cliff were borrowed from battle of red cliffs and occurrences, which took place during the final stages of Han Dynasty. The film symbolizes the Chinese interpretation of various aspects of life such as the relationship between man and nature, and the relationship between an individual and the state. The battle of the Red Cliff marked the end of the Han Dynasty.

A great warrior known as Cao Cao led his group from the south and fought with his rivals who were led by Liu Cong. As a result, Liu Cong gave up Jing Province. This led to the emancipation of the three kingdoms. The three Kingdoms is a Chinese historical era, which was mainly characterized by disunity. It occurred immediately after the collapse of Han Dynasty. The Han Dynasty is considered as a significant historical event that has shaped Chinese political and cultural aspects.

The first Chinese model explaining the relationship between an individual and the state was documented by Zhang Taiyan (UCP, 2004). Zhang engineered the nationalism concept. Individuals are supposed to put their nation first (UCP 5). In the film Red Cliff, the main character shows nationalism by fighting to secure a key economic territory for his kingdom.

Likewise, the other characters mimic leaders like Lu Su and Lie Bei also fight for their regions’ wellbeing. At that time, each territory was seen as an independent state, so each leader strived to protect his territory. The approach used by Lu SU and Lie Bei in which they formed an allied force to oppose Coa Coa’s rivalry is also highlighted in the film Red Cliff. This is another sign of the Chinese interpretation of nationalism.

In addition, the Chinese interpretation with regard to the relationship between man and nature is best explained ecologically. On top of that, the relationship between man and nature is also linked to the Chinese concept of Confucianism. Thus, the respect for humanity is paramount. Since man relies on nature, Chinese believe that nature has to be guarded from harm.

These aspects are portrayed in the film Red Cliffs, Red Cliff showcases Chinese epic war between rival territories. However, even in the midst of a tough battle, nature is guarded. This is a clear interpretation of the Chinese view with regard to the relationship between man and nature; man and nature are friends.

Works Cited

Elley, Derek. The Red Cliff Review. 29 June 2008. Web.

McCurry, Justin. “Chinese epic loses the plot as actors quit £40m project”. The Guardian 2 April 2007: 1-10. Web.

Meng, Peiyuan. Relationship Between Man and Nature in Traditional Human Rights Concepts of China and West. 4 May 2008. Web.

Tang, Ayu. Choice of Kaneshiro as Zhuge Liang criticized. Asiansite 12 March 2007. Web.

University of Califonia Press (UCP). The Relationship between the Individual and the People. 7 May 2004. Web.

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IvyPanda. "Chinese Interpretation of Various Aspects of Life through the Film titled Red Cliff." November 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chinese-interpretation-of-various-aspects-of-life-through-the-film-titled-red-cliff/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Chinese Interpretation of Various Aspects of Life through the Film titled Red Cliff." November 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chinese-interpretation-of-various-aspects-of-life-through-the-film-titled-red-cliff/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Chinese Interpretation of Various Aspects of Life through the Film titled Red Cliff'. 20 November.

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