Red Sorghum (1987)

China
Feature Film
Original Title: 红高粱
Director: Zhang Yimou
Writers: Chen Jianyu, Zhu Wei, Mo Yan
Cinematographer: Gu Changwei
Composer: Zhao Jiping
Cast: Gong Li, Jiang Wen, Ten Rujun, Ji Chun Hua, Jia Liu

Told in the form of a man recounting a family legend, this visually sumptuous film – based on Mo Yan’s books, set in remote, provincial China in the ‘20s and ‘30s, taking in masked bandits, leprous land owners, forced marriages, and Japanese invasion – is a work that titillates the senses but, being peopled by caricatures who barely resemble real human beings (as is so often the case with legend), it doesn’t really connect on an emotional level. Iain.Stott