MovieChat Forums > Yellow Earth (1984) Discussion > Reminded me of Soviet films

Reminded me of Soviet films


People who have seen films made in Soviet Union, will probably find this film strangely familiar. Here we can also see a great deal of covert communist propaganda, like we see in most Soviet films. Yes, the film is not as optimistic as a typical propaganda film should be, but still the message is clear that communism is far superior to traditional way life.

But the film is not bad (neither are many Soviet films). It was visually beautiful and had a very emotional, yet simple, love story. And let's not forget the great collection of traditional Chinese folk songs. The last part, after the soldier left the village, was a bit unnecessary, in my opinion. The film could have stopped with the tragic singing of the girl as the soldier walked into the distance. Which would have made it a rather short film, but that's not a bad thing.

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I see the film's main point to be that the Communist Party does not understand its peasantry. It wishes to use their songs as though they are things that can be owned and used. The songs of the peasants flow from their present and momentary existence. Their songs speak truly and freely of their present life. The Communist Party wanted their songs for propaganda but their songs cannot be bridled so. In this way the communist cause is undermined by the film.

This theme of the film reminded me Gadjo Dilo. In this latter film the gypsy songs speak of their lives and their memories. They can be taped and recorded but such recordings cease to bear the lifeblood of the people and their songs.

A bird sings and the mountain's silence deepens.

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Great point.

For the first half of the film, it seemed as though Cuiqiao was apprehensive of singing near Gu, the soider. As if she didn't feel it appropriate for him, an outsider, to listen to her woes. Or that she didn't think he would understand the condition of her life, their lives. I got the feeling that these songs were something that belonged to these people because, like you said, they were a translation of their everyday experience--a natural, free-flowing expression. So they were not something self-contained that could be borrowed and re-used.

Even though this film was made under an era of Chinese communism, it certainly did not render being pro-Communism. If anything, it may hold the suggestion that whatever government was in power was failing the people. When nature cannot provide, the country must.

And on that note, there seems to be a running metaphor of the film suggesting that nature must be respected and in turn it will provide. Yet, what is their belief if nature is not providing, i.e. if there is a drought? What are the transgressions of the poor to cause this outcome? That I'm still ruminating over.

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