Red Sorghum (1987) is a very symbolic presentation of the past, the present, and the future. Each scene is full of symbols, and each frame has a particular meaning. Frame 4c is no exception. The frame depicts the protagonist of the film who has prepared food for the men before the attack. The frame reveals the woman’s determination and doubt; it also reveals the price which is going to be paid, i.e., deaths and a lot of innocent bloodsheds.
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In the first place, the meaning is revealed through the focus of the frame. The camera focuses on the woman and the table. The woman is in the center of the scene. This position reveals the central role the protagonist is playing in the affair. This is she who inspired the men to fight; this is her who sent them to fight.
Focus on the table can also be regarded as a symbolic representation of the price to be paid. Thus, there is meat that is often seen as a symbol of sacrifice and death. Thus, the meat on the table is a symbol of death, which is near and which is expecting for the protagonist and the men. There are also bowls of red liquor, which stands for red blood to be shed.
It is necessary to note that the background plays quite an important role. Though the focus is on the protagonist, the distillery is a part of the scene. The distillery is a symbolic representation of the protagonist’s life and her present. This is what she is fighting for. Of course, it is not only the way to earn living for the woman, it is her life. It is very remarkable that the protagonist is sitting at the table and is looking at the price to pay while she understands what she is fighting for as her very life (which is in the background) is the bet.
The use of light is also remarkable. There is certain obscurity. There is smoke coming from some places, which also adds some obscurity to the scene. This can be regarded as a symbol of doubt and uncertainty. It can also stand for the wrong choices made. Thus, the protagonist does not see the picture clearly. Her mind is blurred, and she does not see that the price is too high. Nonetheless, there is a determination on her face. The obscurity adds to the atmosphere of solemnity and doom.
It is necessary to note that another frame stresses the solemnity. Frame 4a reveals the idea of hope and represents the future, which is brighter than the present. Again, the focus is on the protagonist, or rather her face. It is also necessary to note that there is a lot of light and no trace of obscurity. The protagonist sees her son, who is the future. This is clear, and this is why there is so much light as it is obvious that the protagonist has the future, i.e., it is her son.
To sum up, frame 4c can be regarded as central to the film as it reveals the past, the present, and the future of the protagonist. The light, the focus, and the background serve to create the symbolic representation of the three dimensions of human life. The frame reveals the decision made and the price to be paid. This frame is as symbolic as the entire film.