Books and Movies Reviews

Are Zhang Yimou’s Film Addressing Female Spectators

As most of Zhang;s film focus on women, more exactly, he puts the heroines in the most significant places, is that means his films are addressing women spectators?
I want to analyze it in 3 aspects: the theme, the camera using, and the end.
First, the theme, Zhang used women’s bodies as a way of “challenging Confucian morality and political repression sexual liberation
Secondly, treated female sexuality as a “fascinating cinematic image” rather than a serious intellectual issue in his film. From his using of camera, we can see he used many close-ups of female characters in their physical beauty. Zhang was issuing a deliberate challenge to the last few decades’ image of the good Communist woman who had become a sexless figure For example, in Red sorghum, he focuses on using scopophilia in his portrayal of Jiu’er’s sexuality to show their women as capable of “seeing” as well as “being seen”.
The “narcissistic pleasures” of the film holds for its male spectators. Jiu’er, the film’s heroine, and how she operates as both the erotic object of desire for male characters in the film and also as the reversing agent of that desire with her looks at the male characters. Female characters here were used as an object of desire to reconcile male viewers to the new socio-economic order emerging in China in Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern. And also there is an argue that, Zhang as a representative of male director of the 5th generation, reflects the trend emerging from films such as Red sorghum, featuring a “rape scene”, which suggests that female sexuality can only be awakened through violent means
Finally, the end of the heroines, in most of Zhang;s films, the ends for heroines are tragic. It formed a sharp contrast to most of the male characters who still alive at the end.


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