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“Hóng Gāoliáng” and “Indochine” Movies Comparison Essay

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Updated: Mar 21st, 2021


The following paper is an analysis of two movies; Hóng Gāoliáng (Red Sorghum), which is directed by Zhang Yimou, and Indochine, which has been directed by Regis Wargnier. The movie reviews in this paper revolve around the main objectives, targeted audience, and the influence of the movie on the targeted audience and other generations. A concluding remark providing an overview of the review forms the last section of this paper.

Hóng Gāoliáng (Red Sorghum), Dir. Zhang Yimou, 1987, 91 min., China

Hóng Gāoliáng, also known as the “Red Sorghum” is a movie directed by Zhang Yimou. Since its production in 1987, Hóng Gāoliáng has changed the lives of many people. Neo hails praises at Zhang Yimou for directing such a creative and outstanding film, which has so far attracted a vast of interests from different stakeholders despite being the first work done by him (Zhang). In addition, Neo (2) vividly describes how the movie Hóng Gāoliáng has won numerous prestigious awards within the global arena owing to its state-of-the-art quality. Evidently, Neo (3) is right that the movie Hóng Gāoliáng has been developed on the basis of China’s roots. Zhang directed Hóng Gāoliáng around Chinese cultural perspectives in a bid to explain who and how did the ancestral Chinese come to exist.

Zhang was so much interested in finding out the origin of Chinese and its wonderful, beautiful, and unique culture. Neo (3) provides an understanding of the metaphor that has been used by Zhang within this film. The metaphor is about sorghum and how it came to grow within the Northeast of China. The growth of sorghum within Northeast China is metaphorically used to symbolize the existence of the Chinese.

The producer and director of this movie aimed at attempting to create an understanding of the existence of Chinese culture and its people. Interestingly, the narrator within the film asserts that no one knows or understands how the sorghum grew within the region (Ling 122). This means that no one knows or understands how the ancestral Chinese came to be hence the Chinese culture.

In addition to attempting to describe in-depth the existence of the Chinese ancestors came to be, the film is also directed towards explaining the Chinese culture. It is indisputable that Chinese culture is an amazing one that attracted Zhang into creating a film aimed at explaining the same. Based on the film, Neo claims that various philosophers continue to develop interests especially with respect to the notion of the carnival through the characters of the participants. Mikhail for instance aims at establishing the link between the notions of the carnival and the biological needs of the Chinese people (Ling 125). In this perspective, therefore, there is no doubt that Zhang aimed at throwing light on the Chinese culture besides providing entertainment.

The main targeted audiences are stakeholders and other interested parties (such as the Chinese who wish to understand their origins and all other historians who would wish to create a sense out of every cultural background) within the sector of cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology that aims at explaining how various aspects of cultures came to be within particular environs.

In this movie, Zhang was not only providing entertainment to various audiences but also wished to explore and explain some of the concepts that many Chinese have been and continue to ask themselves even in the contemporary world. Indeed, through this movie, several stakeholders within Chinese culture and those who aim at understanding various aspects of Chinese culture would obtain some of the answers to their questions, which include amongst others, ‘who and how the Chinese ancestors came to be.’

Indochine, Dir. Régis Wargnier, 1992, 148 min., Vietnam

Directed by Régis Wargnier, Indochine is a movie that features the ending of French colonialism within Indochina and how the collapse of such colonial rule affected the citizens of Indochina. Specifically, Indochine is a movie that focuses on the life of an unmarried French woman during such a time. The French woman, Eliane, is unmarried. She works in the rubber fields. In addition, she takes the obligation of raising a Vietnamese princess. Unfortunately, the two ladies end up falling in love with a young French army officer. The incident changes the lives of both ladies. Every woman in society who takes up the step forward and responsibility of being independent should be applauded as David (62) explains.

According to Ravi, the film Indochine is a good way of creating an understanding between women, families, and the building of empires. Ravi (76) confirms that the film Indochine as directed by Régis Wargnier revolves around how a French woman can have a glorified vision. Such visions need to be nurtured into reality thereby making a woman in the society energetic enough to meet all her needs without relying on men.

The French woman portrayed in this movie by Régis Wargnier is unmarried yet she works very hard and even takes the responsibility of raising a princess on her own without assistance from any man. Even though Ravi (77) argues that Eliane is not a true representation of women within a colonial government, such women are there and should be appreciated for every little effort they put in order to be independent.

In his part, David (75) argues that the movie raises concerns about the configuration of gender at separate levels. David (64-65) vividly explains that during the classical period women were seen as the weaker sex that could not stand on their own. However, Régis Wargnier has attempted to explain that women had their capabilities and potentials in being independent and making society a better place to live in especially with respect to care and responsibility. Régis Wargnier claims that women need to stand up on their own without being dependent on men just like Eliane did even within the midst of a colonial government.

The film targets women and those who fight for the place and rights of women. In this regard, the movie aims at assisting interested parties as well as women to understand the need to be involved in various activities that will make them (women) independent of men. Indeed, this movie is very relevant to the contemporary environment where there has been an increase in the quest for gender equality. Such quests should borrow concepts from the movie by Régis Wargnier to ensure that women are responsible enough to engage in activities that will make them independent.


From the two movies, it is clear that global cultures are significantly changing. Despite the fact that many societies cannot explain their origin, it is worth noting that most cultures continue to change and adapt to the contemporary environment, which is highly characterized by enhanced technology such as high-quality pictures and other characteristics or qualities of the pictures. Indeed, the above movies provide a deeper understanding of the influence of literature on human beings.

Works Cited

David, Joel. “Indochine and the politics of gender.” AJWS, 12. 4 (2006); 61-93. Print.

Ling, Zhu. “A Brave New World? On the Construction of ‘Masculinity’ and ‘Femininity’ in The Red Sorghum Family,” in Tonglin Lu, ed., Gender and Sexuality in Twentieth-Century Chinese Literature and Society. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1993. Print.

Neo, David “Sense of cinema, Web.

Ravi, Srilata. Women, family and Empire-building: Régis Wargnier’s Indochine. SFC 2.2 (2002); 74-82. Print.

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