Stage Sisters and Yellow Earth directed by Xie Jin and Chen Kaige respectively present the dynamicity of the Chinese film productions. The two producers have done extremely well to illustrate various social and cultural issues within their writing and production contexts of the films. Stage Sisters is a story about two female practitioners attached to Yue Opera productions.
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Dealing with life of the same troupe, the story illustrates how two sisters decide to take different paths in life. On the other hand, Yellow Earth is a love story between a soldier and a girl from a peasant family which fails to materialize at the end. It is important to note that the production of both films exhibit certain similarities and differences that are necessary for consideration and discussion.
These Chinese films are similar in terms of character development. Both producers attempted to use strong-willed characters in the literary works. The use of powerful female characters in both films is evident through the plots of both films. In Stage Sister, Jin modeled the character traits of Chunhua as a resolute lady, who is focused on and unwilling to compromise her moral and cultural standards.
Chunhua’s confidence and agility are demonstrated through her decision to stand against her false accusers in the courtroom. This is further illustrated by the producer when Chunhua begins to perform revolutionary operas signifying her desire to fight for revolution in a society where only male dominate (Marchetti 34-39).
On the other hand, Kaige has also done well to present strong-willed characters such as Qiao. This is a girl from a peasant family who is forced to marry an elderly man because of tradition. Finding out about the possibility to gain her freedom by joining CPP, Qiao decides to fight for her rights (Kuoshu 57-68). These illustrations indicate that both producers have exploited the use of powerful characters to enhance their goals in their respective literary works.
There is also similarity in terms of the acting style adopted by both producers. The actions of the protagonists in both films are characterized by the ability to withstand opposition in a bid to achieve success in life. Both Chunhua in Stage Sisters and Qiao and Yellow Earth are willing to fight against injustice amidst the opposing culture that dictates the certain rules to the people around them. As a result, it can be deduced that both authors have adopted a similar acting style in the film productions.
Lastly, the two films have been produced using a similar cinematic style. Both films are characterized by a sad ending, thereby depicting a tragedy at the end. The use of a tragic ending for both movies depicts the use of a similar cinematic style of both producers (Semsel 45).
However, there is a difference in terms of thematic presentations in both films. In Yellow Earth, the producer’s intention is to present themes of discrimination against women (the society is male dominated and women are victims of the culture and traditions), disillusionment (Qiao and Qing’s plans of developing their relationship are ruined when the two fail to meet at the end of the story), and revolution in the society (the existence of CPP movement that aims at creating a revolution in the culture of the society).
On the other hand, Two Sisters presents themes of betrayal (Chunhua is betrayed by her sister Yuehong), determination (the two sisters are determined to achieve their goals in their career), and moral decadence in the society (the existence of scenes of bribery and betrayal in the film).
Kuoshu, H. Harry. Celluloid China: Cinematic Encounters with Culture and Society. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2002. Print.
Marchetti, Gina. Two Stage Sisters: The Blossoming of a Revolutionary Aesthetic. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997. Print.
Semsel, George. Chinese Film: The State of the Art in the People’s Republic. New York: Praeger, 1987. Print.