Huang Tu Di Movie Analysis

939 Words 4 Pages
As a film that roots in the realities of Chinese peasants’ life and recent Chinese history, Huang Tu Di (1984) is a film that revolves around a young soldier from the Eighth Route Army’s propaganda department called GuQing who went to the destitute Shaanxi village to collect folk tunes for adaptation by the Party for propaganda and polemical use. As he lives with his assigned family in the village, Gu learns about the hardships of being a peasant and in particular, the dilemma of a peasant young girl called Cuiqiao, who is coerced to marry a middle-aged man so as to earn the wedding dowry to pay for her mother’s funeral and her brother’s engagement. Gu refuses her request to take her to join the army, and promises her to return to the village …show more content…
The Chinese has been said to have ‘yellow (huang)’ skin. The Yellow River is deemed to be the origin and the breeding ground of Chinese civilization, while ‘earth (tu di) could mean the nation or the land of a country. Given that Chinese peasants are nourished by and are sometimes destroyed the Yellow River, Henderson, Martin and Amazonas (1999) suggest that a narrative function is attached to the river to hint that China, a resistant country, is in grave need of reform. Such resilience accounts for the delay of enlightenment. With such connotation, the title itself underlines that this movie tells a story that represents China as a …show more content…
The fact that people still succumb to Chinese feudalist patriarchy and obsolete convention ultimately leads to the death of Cuiqiao. Her story actually represents the fate of most Chinese women who have been subjected to paternal arrangements and deprived of their autonomy over their own marriage. This is because marriage in traditional Chinese society has been a matter of ‘parents' order and matchmaker', according to Gao (2003). Such ideology, as stated by Watson and Ebrey (1991), is a form of parental control of marriages based on the principle of bereavement of free choice that the mass deem to be most appropriate to a socialist Chinese society. The death of Cuiqiao signifies the feudalist victimization of women and is a lamentation of their inability to break away from such feudal marriage practice. The symbolism of the colour red is well-played in the movie. The montage showing the components of the two marriage pageants during marriage ceremony, like the dowry and the red palanquin, highlights the repetitiveness and excessiveness of of red, which originally denotes happiness and fortune in Chinese culture, but is now reversely connoting the tyranny of oppressive marriages in that dramatic context, according to Henderson, Martin and Amazonas (1999). Another side note is that this movie is also reflective of the ideology of blind filial piety, which requires

Related Documents