MovieChat Forums > Raise the Red Lantern (1991) Discussion > Why do people say this movie is about co...

Why do people say this movie is about communism?


Why do people say this movie is about communism? What is the thinking behind that?

"90% of everything is crud." --Theodore Sturgeon

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I guess if you look at it metaphorically, it resembles a lot of things.

First, you have the man who is the master of the house. His word is law, he controls everything. The wives are all part of his pleasure and are essentially tools for him to use at his will. The servants also have a part in this hierachical structure.

So you have the hierachy of power in terms of who is in control and who isn't. Anyone who disobeys is punished, such as Yaner' who wishes to get out of her status and move up to become higher but suffers the consequences for her rebellion. Gong Li's character Songlian also suffers when she fakes that thing (don't want to say it for those who haven't seen the film - but you know what I mean).

Also, I guess some people see this as a light criticism of China's communist structure back then, and to a lesser extent nowadays and how the misuse of power and the positions people play in a society that is governed by such policies has effect on everyone. Also, the film was banned by the Chinese government back then from what I heard, was also due to the fact that some of the mistresses cheated on their husbands and hence a woman should not be disloyal to the man, despite the fact that he has four wives.

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First, you have the man who is the master of the house. His word is law, he controls everything. The wives are all part of his pleasure and are essentially tools for him to use at his will. The servants also have a part in this hierachical structure.


That is feudalism, communism has nothing to do with absolutist power. Communists gave women the right to vote and be treated as equals, so how does the master treating the women as sex toys have anything to do with communism?


Anyone who disobeys is punished, such as Yaner' who wishes to get out of her status and move up to become higher but suffers the consequences for her rebellion.


Communists were the ones who started the rebellion! If anything, this film shows us the conditions the commonfolk lived in that lead to communism.

the film was banned by the Chinese government back then from what I heard, was also due to the fact that some of the mistresses cheated on their husbands and hence a woman should not be disloyal to the man, despite the fact that he has four wives.


So essentially, what does the banning have to do with the supposed criticism of communism?

And I think you have it wrong - the Chinese didn't ban the film because they think a woman should be loyal to a man regardless of her being his concubine. It shows the overall loose morals - women plotting against each other, women involved in adultery, the male master treating his wives so callously, servants being abused, women being hanged....... if anything this movie make sit seem that the Chinese are a bunch of savages. So I can kind of understand why the film was banned - I mean, when has Hollywood ever represented America in a negative light?

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Thank you lumosnight! I see this movie as a portrait of feudilism and also our modern capitalist system with inherent class divides and patriatchy and imperialism. The anti communist education in this country has been very successful. We don't even try to understand it just jump to conclusions.

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Not really about communism, but it carries a very direct allegorical reference to the Tiananmen square events.

It is not accidental that she happened to be a student, and the beautiful symmetrical frames are more than ornaments. The longshots emphasizing the environment and repeated static shots of the quarters show a system and the entrapment in it. These of course are just the general outlines to get started… I will not bore you with a detailed analysis.

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