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The Sequences in the Films “Red Sorghum” and “The Road Home” Essay

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Updated: Nov 28th, 2018

The sequences in question (taken from Red Sorghum and The Road Home) reveal the moment when two men meet two women. The sequences show the moment when certain feelings are born. Exchanging glances is central to the sequences. It is necessary to note that the sequences under analysis are characterized by different settings and quite different cinematographic tools used. The differences as well as similarities are justified by the ideas the film director, Zhang, wants to convey.

Thus, Zhang conveys the idea of tension and passion in sequence A (Red Sorghum) and he reveals first pure affection in sequence B (The Road Home). Since the two types of relationships between the man and the woman are so different and quite similar at the same time, the film director uses a variety of tools (camera movement, color, sound, facial expressions) to unwrap the very nature of these relationships.

Admittedly, relationship between a woman and a man start with exchanging glances which show certain interest. In both sequences, the protagonists unveil their interest. There is a specific eye contact which can be regarded as a start of the relationship. More so, the protagonists seem to be talking without using words.

Their eyes say more than words could tell. The use of the “dialogue-free exposition” helps to reveal the protagonists’ feelings (Pramaggiore & Wallis 69). At this point, it is necessary to note that the messages sent are quite different (which will be discussed further). However, the fact that two people reveal their interest makes the sequences similar.

As far as specific cinematographic tools are concerned, it is important to note that Zhang employs close-ups to show the arising feelings. Both sequences are characterized by the use of close-ups which prevail. Clearly, the director focuses on the facial expression of the protagonists.

This contributes to comprehensive description of the feelings which come into existence. Close-ups help the viewer to see the silent dialogue between the man and the woman. There is no need in words as glances are even more informative. These glances become the focus of the close-ups used. The director intensifies the sequences with the help of the close-ups.

Remarkably, these are major similarities between the sequences in question. There are quite few similarities between the sequences as the ideas conveyed are quite different.

Thus, when talking about facial expressions, it is necessary to note that the protagonists reveal their interest which is different in nature. Thus, it is all about passion and sexual appeal in sequence A. Zhang reveals this passion “at once mystifying the naked operation of power and mythologizing the legitimacy of possession” (Li 296). The woman’s face is serious and she seems to be challenging the man.

At the same time, the girl and the boy are smiling in sequence B. They show their interest by exchanging shy glances. They pass by and turn around to look at each other. The scene is full of romantic atmosphere and pure affection. The young people seem to be in love at first sight. There is nothing to do with sexual appeal. These two young people act a bit awkwardly as they are shy and they are struck by really strong feelings.

Apart from facial expressions, the use of color contributes to the creation of the specific atmosphere. Zhang is famous for his experiments with color and his reliance on symbols (Chow 145). For instance, red color prevails in sequence A. The woman is wearing red clothes, she is travelling in a red sedan and the very air is full of this color.

Clearly, red stands for passion. However, sequence B is characterized by a beautiful range of many colors. The girl is wearing a pink jacket and the two young people are surrounded by golden fields and trees. There is a red kerchief around the girl’s neck, but it is only a tiny spot as there is almost no room for passion in these two people’s relationship.

Furthermore, the very settings are quite different. Admittedly, setting is extremely important as it helps to tell the story (Pramaggiore & Wallis 285). These settings emphasize the nature of the relationships. In sequence A, the couple is in the middle of the field. It is hot and the couple is in quite a closed space.

The protagonists are among men who are sweating. The sequence also ends in a violent scene. All these peculiarities of the setting create the atmosphere of tension and passion. Nonetheless, the sequence B is light and airy. The protagonists go along quite a wide road. There are fields around the road. There are trees somewhere in distance. The couple is surrounded by children who are symbols of purity. The protagonists are not confined to certain limited area. It seems that the entire world belongs to them.

This feeling is associated with pure love and affection. Notably, one of the tools to emphasize this idea and create the necessary atmosphere is the use of long shots. Sequence A is characterized by dominating close-ups. However, in sequence B, there are quite many long shots. Thus, the girl approaches the young man who hands her basket. The use of long shots helps to create the airy atmosphere, the atmosphere of freedom and lightness.

Finally, the use of sound is also remarkable. Admittedly, sound plays a very important role enlarging the “cinematic lexis” (Metz 124). Sound contributes greatly to the creation of the specific atmosphere in each sequence. For example, there is no music in sequence A.

There are only sounds of moving grass and flying insects. The viewer may find him/herself in the middle of the field. The viewer is involved in the tensed atmosphere. It is possible to note that passion is revealed in every second of the sequence. When it comes to sequence B, there is light and romantic music which helps to create an atmosphere of a romantic story or even a fable. Again, with the help of the sound Zhang creates the atmosphere of realistic representation of passion or fable-like representation of pure affection.

To sum up, it is necessary to note that the sequences in question have quite a lot in common. The sequences focus on exchanging glances and revealing interest. However, the sequences are also very different as the interest revealed by the protagonists is different in nature. Sequence A is characterized by passion and tension while sequence B is all about pure affection. Basically, the film director shows two facets of love.

Zhang uses a variety of tools to create the specific atmosphere in each sequence. The use of color, sound and camera movement contributes to creation of the specific atmosphere in both sequences. Interestingly, these three cinematographic tools help to convey quite different concepts. Admittedly, Zhang is a great film director who manages to employ every tool to the fullest. He creates two worlds. One of these worlds is full of passion and tension while the other is an airy world of romance.

Works Cited

Chow, Rey. “Not One Less: The Fable of a Migration.” Chinese Films in Focus: 25 New Takes. Ed. Chris Berry. London: BFI Publishing, 2003. 144-151. Print.

Li, David Leiwei. “Capturing China in Globalization: The Dialectic of Autonomy and Dependency in Zhang Yimou’s Cinema.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 49.3 (2007): 293-317. Print.

Metz, Christian. “Photography and Fetish//1985.” The Cinematic. Ed. David Campany. London: Wallflower Press, 2007. 124-133. Print.

Pramaggiore, Maria T. and Tom Wallis. Film: A Critical Introduction. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2007. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2018, November 28). The Sequences in the Films “Red Sorghum” and “The Road Home”. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/sequence-comparison-2/

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"The Sequences in the Films “Red Sorghum” and “The Road Home”." IvyPanda, 28 Nov. 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/sequence-comparison-2/.

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IvyPanda. "The Sequences in the Films “Red Sorghum” and “The Road Home”." November 28, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sequence-comparison-2/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "The Sequences in the Films “Red Sorghum” and “The Road Home”." November 28, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sequence-comparison-2/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'The Sequences in the Films “Red Sorghum” and “The Road Home”'. 28 November.

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