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Music and femininity in Zhang Yimou's family melodrama.

AS THE "DRAMA WITH MUSIC," MELODRAMA HAS MAINTAINED an intimate and volatile relationship with music. While in the nineteenth century it represented and confirmed bourgeois values, melodrama "takes on new life in the twentieth century with the invention of film and with the development of the classical Hollywood film industry." (1) Although Hollywood melodramas are said to be conventional and formulaic, they may also have revolutionary potential. Thomas Elsaesser, for example, maintains that some melodramas can aspire to serious social and aesthetic achievements. Although many factors are involved in the making of a sophisticated melodrama, Elsaesser demonstrates that music is an integral part of the genre and a key mode of representation.

Elsaesser defines melodrama as "a dramatic narrative in which musical accompaniment marks the emotional effects." (2) As an essential part of melodrama, music has been used and interpreted variously in melodramatic movies. On the one hand, music in classical Hollywood melodrama performs atmospheric and psychological functions. It punctuates the mood of the actions, anchors the visual meaning of the film, and renders the individual an untroubled viewing subject. On the other hand, the unique features of musical representation also provide more radical and artistic means of signification. This paper attempts to explore the potential and the limit of film music's disruptive power by examining the role music plays in the construction of femininity in two of Zhang Yimou's family melodramas: Raise the Red Lantern (1991), and Red Sorghum (1987).

In the case of Classical Hollywood Cinema, music traditionally plays an appeasing and harmonizing role reminiscent of that of the mother. Its purpose is not to provide rational or analytic information but rather to affect the spectator in an immediate and direct, if unconscious fashion. This kind of music performs a maternal function resolving tension and transporting spectators to the makebelieve cinematic world. Claudia Gorbman talks about how easylistening music in the supermarket renders the consumer an untroublesome social subject. (3) She suggests a parallel function for classical film music: it lulls the spectator into an untroublesome viewing position. Music in this category proceeds from and follows the image. Meanings are explicated by the image track. As a result, the sound track rarely speaks, only echoes.

According to Gorbman, traditional film music "interprets the image, pinpoints and channels the `correct' meaning of the narrative events depicted" and prevents "the spectator's potential recognition of the technological basis of filmic articulation." (4) The two most important roles of background music are described as "semiotic (as ancrage)" and "psychological (as suture or bonding)." (5) Generally music works as "ancrage" to "anchor the image more firmly in meaning," (6) often at the cost of the complexity of the filmic representation. It also sutures or binds the audience into unmediated spectators. Because of its powerful emotional impact on the spectator, musical codes, especially nondiegetic music, have been exploited to elicit direct and full audience involvement in the story.

Its subservient role and "raw emotionalism" have caused film music to be stereotypically described as "feminine." Many feminists object to the feminine metaphor for its implication that music, like woman, has to rely upon the word of others for articulation in classical films. They choose instead to explore music's potential to open an avenue for expressing women's desires. Helene Cixous, Julia Kristeva, and many other feminists have argued that "music's relatively abstract qualities permit a greater play of signification, a greater flexibility of meaning" and that "the practice of music can unsettle patriarchal symbolic structures and modes of subject formation." (7) In this sense, film music will not only anchor and reinforce the visual meaning of the film, but also offer commentary and critique of its own. The "feminine" music can be turned into "feminist" music that will encourage a radical mode of subject formation for the female audience.

In her study of mainland Chinese cinema, Stephanie Hoare observes that "the more conventional Chinese mainstream film closely resembles Western melodrama, while the innovative filmmakers employ Western art cinema methods." (8) This is not so obvious in Zhang's works, however. Zhang Yimou has made it very clear that he does not want to alienate his audience. He started his career in the alternative cinema. In 1983 he served as cinematographer for an art film which is said to have sold only one copy in that year's national new film fair. When he began to direct his own films, he boldly adopted a time-honored genre and successfully wrapped the most progressive message with the most excessive forms of melodrama. As an artist eager to win domestic and international recognition, Zhang Yimou will naturally work in the genre that has the widest appeal.

According to Ma Ning, family melodrama has been one of the dominant forms of expression in Chinese cinema since its origin at the beginning of this century. (9) Its popularity can be partially explained by the position of the family in Chinese society. As the most basic social unit in traditional and contemporary China, family is always at the front of cultural struggle and transformation. Films centered around the family not only ensure audience involvement; they also enable the director to tackle social problems at the root.

A master of Chinese family melodrama, Zhang Yimou has taken advantage of music's unique mode of signification and produced films that are both entertaining and subversive. Gorbman points out that music's "freedom from linguistic signification and from representation of any kind preserves it as a more desirable, or less unpleasurable discourse" when used in classical Hollywood movies. (10) In my opinion, music's seductive pleasure, if deftly explored, can also contribute to a less didactic and more sophisticated type of social critique. In his films, Zhang Yimou occasionally has characters shout slogans of social criticism. At the beginning of Raise the Red Lantern for example, Songlian remarks bitterly, both to her stepmother offscreen and the spectator in the theater: "Isn't this [marriage against one's will] women's fate?!" Likewise, in Shanghai Triad, not too far into the story, before we get to know the master or the mistress, we already hear the gang leader's semiliterate assistant reflect loudly on women's status at a fancy nightclub. Moments like these always strike me as being somewhat abrupt and out of place. Neither the scene nor the characters are sufficiently prepared for these remarks, however incisive they are. These moments are fortunately rare in Zhang Yimou's cinema. His most effective indictment against patriarchy is not delivered mainly with words, but rather through meticulously designed setting, lighting, action, and music. As an auteur, Zhang Yimou is very selective, stylized, and in strict control of the material. Yet he manages to integrate all the available means of representation so that his films will inspire without dictating, and preach without appearing boring.

Raise the Red Lantern begins with a raucous piece played by traditional percussion instruments of drum and gong. Anyone familiar with Chinese opera will be able to recognize it as the opening sequence of military plays. Traditional Chinese opera is always introduced with a piece of music which, in addition to catching the audience's attention and stopping their noisy chatter, also indicates the type of play that is to be staged. The theatergoer, already acquainted with the conventions of each category, will know what to expect. The military tune that opens Raise the Red Lantern foreshadows a story of great intensity and possible loss of life. Aside from whetting the spectator's appetite for a good tale, this opening piece also plays a part in the insistent use of theater symbolism by the director.

The importance of the Chinese theater in the film can be seen by the numerous audio-visual references to it. Like a traditional opera, the story of the film unfolds with the change of season and fortune. Set in a labyrinth of old houses, the overall feel of the film is enclosed and exclusive, neither affecting or affected by the outside world. The main characters rarely move beyond the courtyard. People who come from the outside seldom stay. The flow of the film is often interrupted by still shots of the house and the characters. Although we can infer from the clothing that the story takes place some time during the first half of the twentieth century, historical details are minimized to such an extent that they are almost inconsequential. Although they all have some basis in reality, objects, actions, and sounds tend to be ritualized in the big estate which is itself set up as a main stage for family melodrama.

Many critics have reflected upon Zhang Yimou's ritualistic treatment of his material in Raise the Red Lantern. Rey Chow considers it a new and complicated kind of orientalism because it is "an exhibitionist self-display that contains, in its most excessive modes, a critique of the voyeurism of the orientalism itself." (11) Although I am not entirely convinced that the film is indeed a heroic parody of western orientalism, I do agree that Zhang's theatrical display of cultural detail achieves more than simply satisfying first world audiences' appetite for the primitive and the exotic. As this analysis will suggest, the use of rituals and references to the traditional opera establish the theater as the central metaphor in the film. Zhang Yimou pays scant attention to the historical specificity of the story while consistently ritualizing cultural details. In a sense, his film is similar to the traditional Chinese theater with its minimalist stagecraft and expressive treatment of theatrical elements. His film, like traditional Chinese theater, is anti-illusionistic but does not exclude audience identification. The director constructs the reality of the Chen family only to show how it is a mirage, painstakingly created and preserved by traditional ideology and individual aspirations.

The significance of the theater can be understood on multiple levels. It can be seen as an apt description of the hypocritical Chen family. The deception and pretension which characterize the family relationship invite the audience to interpret it in terms of the theater. The Chen house is a permanent stage where the curtain never falls and everyone is forced to put on a constant show. It is unreal in the sense that one is never allowed to be sincere and honest. The wives and maids have to play-act in order to survive. Even the master, the absolute ruler of the house, lives a life dictated by tradition and customs. Reduced to a mouthpiece of the patriarchal order, he appears as a mere shadow and never shows his face in the film.

Such a world of falsity and hypocrisy is suffocating. Interestingly, some will turn to the real theater for a relief from the inhuman life-theater. In the movie, the opera serves as a means of wish-fulfillment for Meishan, the third wife. A famous actress before she married the master, Meishan sings a few arias in the movie, all on the subject of love. It is ironic, since love is exactly what is absent in the house. There is no love between husband and wife, or mother and child. Human relationships are determined by their value for self-promotion and power-struggle. The theater, therefore, becomes a way of escape for Meishan. She confesses that she sings just to deceive herself. Upon the loveless world she is in, she builds up a utopian world of love and happiness. It is understandable that Meishan insists she is the sincerest when she throws on her actress's robe and delivers the arias, since in real life she has to lie and cheat in order to survive.

The world in the theater is comforting, but also deceptive. As wish-fulfillment, the theater does not really allow Meishan to be herself. Her success is only imaginary and her happiness temporary. It deludes her (or she deludes herself?) into believing that she can transcend her adverse circumstances. Her tragedy proves that, like the theater, life has to be played according to rules, the violation of which will bring self-destruction. Meishan may be a good and enthusiastic actress, but she does not have the free will to compose or alter the script. When Shakespeare remarks that the whole world is a stage and all of us are merely players, he is conveying the tyranny of time. Zhang Yimou compares life to a stage because both deprive the individual of the freedom to control the action. Meishan, discontent with a man many years her senior, has an affair with the handsome family doctor. Her search for love in real life costs her her own life, as the affair is later discovered and she is hanged. As I will show later, Songlian, the heroine, is also ruined by her attempt to convert dream into reality.

Like the theater, the Chen household offers various kinds of rewards for those who play their assigned roles well. Whoever is favored by the master receives foot massage, choice of meal, and other sexual and financial privileges. Seduced by the power it promises, Songlian and Meishan underestimate the demand of an alliance with patriarchy. For a moment they forget that they do not have the freedom to choose their roles. Although the women are encouraged to sabotage and cheat each other, they are not allowed to challenge the authority of the master. They can only succeed with his support and within the boundary of "ancestral rules." They cannot exchange roles with the master. No act of free will is deemed permissible and only brings severe punishment upon the transgressor of the rules.

In her review of Raise the Red Lantern, Silverthorne comments how Songlian is both "clear-sighted and deluded, aware of the situation she finds herself in yet teased by the mirage of access to phallic power." (12) On the soundtrack, Songlian's repressed desires are signified by the flute music, while the non-diegetic female choir sings out her growing awareness of her situation.

The Chinese flute is a "bamboo tube bound with waxed silk and pierced with eight holes, one to blow through, one covered with a thin reedy membrane, and six to be played upon by the fingers." (13) The flute is the emblem of Han Xiangzi, one of the eight immortals of Taoism, who possesses the power to bring instant growth and blossom to flowers. In the Chinese popular imagination, the flute is associated with romance and love. A famous story relates how the princess Nongyu falls in love with Xiaoshi, a talented flute player and is united with him eventually. In some other legends, the flute becomes the symbol of Lan Caihe, a female Taoist immortal who chants a poem to warn people of this fleeting life and its transitory pleasures. In this aspect, the flute is a melancholy instrument whose soft, haunting tune is said to be able to capture the sorrow of handsome youths and slender beauties. The flute can also be seen as a phallic symbol and the act of performing upon it as the displacement of one's erotic desire. All these are useful for our understanding of the flute music in Raise the Red Lantern.

In her life, Songlian is close to only two men: her father and the master's son. In both cases, she is forced to part with the man. Her father commits suicide after bankruptcy and leaves her his flute. Songlian owns the instrument, but does not know how to play it. She can only fondle it, caress it, and dream. Later the flute is taken away from her and destroyed by the master, who suspects that it was given to her by a secret lover.

Songlian meets Feipu, the young master, when she is attracted by the flute music to the house tower and finds Feipu there. She stands behind Feipu and watches him play. Her voyeuristic gaze travels from Feipu's youthful body to the beautiful instrument, feasting upon the sight of an ideal love object. The two come to like each other during their first meeting. Feipu asks whether Songlian plays flute or not. She is about to answer when his mother, the first wife, calls from below: "Feipu, Feipu, come downstairs!" As a filial son, the young master obeys and leaves the tower. It is very tempting to imagine what would happen if Songlian did have the chance to answer him. We already know at this point that she does not play the flute. Yet she has one. It is from her late father to whom she is very much attached. If given the opportunity, she might want to tell Feipu about it. The young master would probably offer to teach her how to play. In either case, the answer to the question would initiate a communication between the two and could lead to a loving relationship. Yet their conversation is interrupted.

It is significant that they do not have a chance to start to develop their relationship. In the film, Feipu is never posed as a real potential lover for Songlian, but rather a projection of her own stifled desires. Soft-spoken, gentle, and obedient, Feipu is subject to the tyranny of his parents and is unlikely to be the protector of Songlian. It is difficult to know exactly how Feipu feels about Songlian, for we only see Songlian initiate the look and fall in love. As for Feipu, he is always away, distant and unavailable. When they meet for the second time, it happens to be Songlian's birthday. He presents her with a gift, which, as Songlian correctly recognizes, is a love token a man gets from a woman, possibly from a prostitute. It seems fair to suspect that Feipu is involved with other women and does not take Songlian seriously. Even if he does, being passive and effeminate, he will not be able to stand up to his father and the "ancestral rules" he represents. At that moment Songlian realizes that Feipu is just a fantasy she has created for herself. Her faint hope of love, like her faint hope of being in charge of her fate, is crushed.

The affair between Songlian and Feipu would be disruptive because it is illicit, "incestual," and adulterous. As the concubine of the father, Songlian is a nominal mother for Feipu. The oedipal relationship, if materialized, would be a real challenge to the authority of the master. Songlian is allured by the prospect of taking control of her emotional life, not realizing that the doom of the old master will only result in the succession of a new one and the continuation of the existing order. There might be a transfer of power in the house, but it will only be between father and son, from one patriarch to another. In the Chen family, to survive means to totally distort one's subjectivity, not the empowerment of it. It is not surprising that Songlian will not be able to learn to play the flute and will eventually lose it. The instrument symbolizes all that is promised and then cruelly denied to Songlian once she shows signs of autonomy and defiance. When Songlian finds out that Feipu gives her something he has received from another woman, she is furious. Feipu turns around to leave when Songlian calls softly "Feipu!" Feipu turns back, looking at her. They see each other, recognize each other, but cannot go any further. At this moment the same piece of flute music is played on the soundtrack, evoking memories of their first sweet meeting and expressing the disillusion with her constructed image of love and romance.

The breakup with Feipu is only another poignant moment in a long process of awakening for Songlian. If the flute music captures the subtlety of Songlian's love affair, the female chorus vocalizes the sorrows of a woman who is deprived of agency and lives in isolation.

In the film, the chorus is reserved for the female characters and sung by female voices. Unlike the opera and flute music, it is purely non-diegetic, playing no part in advancing the plot. Zhang Yimou's involvement with the movie can be seen from his extensive use of the non-diegetic female chorus which intervenes at every critical moment and mediates between the narrative and the spectator. By employing the chorus as his speaker, Zhang abandons the privileged position of a detached observer and assumes that of a deeply involved commentator. It is significant that the chorus always sings at the moment of recognition on the part of the heroine. As Songlian becomes more and more aware of the pathetic situation she is confined to, the energetic and enlightened college student is gradually turned into the desolate and confused fourth wife. The wordless tune is appropriate, since every recognition is simultaneously loss and gain. She acquires self knowledge and knowledge of her surroundings at the cost of hope and innocence. This painful transformation will only be trivialized if expressed in words. Music, on the other hand, is able to illuminate the heroine's complicated position: silenced (as can be demonstrated by the wordlessness of the tune) yet not stifled, still looking for ways to break free.

The chorus music in the film ranges from melancholic to indignant and rapidly varies in tempo. We first hear it at Songlian's wedding night. The bed is covered by a net so we cannot see or hear the couple clearly. As the close-up of the bed is gradually replaced by a shot of the whole room, the choir sings a wordless epithalamium. The sorrow in the voice of the choir reflects Songlian's mixed feelings about marriage and renders the jubilant appearance of the wedding room ridiculous: the red lantern, her colorful dress, and the freshly placed decoration.

Laura Mulvey has pointed out that in traditional narrative film, woman is turned into image while man is the "bearer of the look." (14) Spectators are therefore sutured into the "voyeuristicscopophilic" (15) look identified as the male gaze. As an alternative to the classical cinema, feminist movies should assume the task of creating a female spectatorship capable of an active and positive identification with the on-screen image of woman. By deliberately avoiding the lovemaking and even shots of the body, Raise the Red Lantern denies the viewer voyeuristic pleasure. The few close-ups of Songlian are still shots of a frozen, expressionless face which is almost embarrassing to look at. This makes it difficult for the viewer to identify with a male gaze. Meanwhile, the melancholy, wordless tune sung by the chorus instructs the viewer, now deprived of the pleasure of looking, to identify with the female character.

In the ensuing scene, when the master goes to the third wife's room, Songlian is left alone on her wedding night. She puts on her clothes, gets out of bed, and looks into the mirror on the desk. The choir is heard again and as it becomes louder and sadder, Songlian cries. The spectator, fully aware of the situation, cannot help sympathizing with her for her misery. By using a chorus composed of female voice only and reserving its use to the feeling of the female character, the director intends to address viewers in such a way that they will empathize with the suffering heroine. The well-trained voices also symbolize culture and civilization that are consonant with the educational background of Songlian.

This is not the first time Zhang Yimou has employed a chorus in his movies. Red Sorghum, his first film, contains quite a few choruses composed of amateur, male voices. Before working on Red Sorghum, Zhang Yimou's composer had composed for Chen Kaige's Yellow Earth (1984), another internationally renowned Chinese movie. Zhang Yimou and the composer once discussed why the music in Yellow Earth was not powerful enough: "we concluded that 1) it is unnatural to have a professional singer sing the song of a country girl 2) it is also unnatural to accompany the song of a country girl with a symphony orchestra." (16) In order not to repeat the mistake, the director wanted the actors to yell out the songs: "all the songs were performed by the actors themselves. I didn't like them to imitate professional singers. I told them that if they lost their voice from singing out, we would take a break for a few days and shoot only scenes that do not require speech." (17) Zhang Yimou is not looking for perfection in his music; he lays more emphasis on spontaneity and naturalness. What is rough and amateur in the voice can be compensated for by the exuberant spirit it radiates. Hearing them, one cannot help being impressed by the group of men who never lose their faith in the joy and fulfillment life could bring. Their performance may lack in training, but never vitality.

Zhang Yimou's preference for the natural voice demonstrates a rejection of all that is artificial and a desire to return to the coarse yet carefree mythological past. It is important that the chorus performance is closely associated with wine-making and the drunken state in the film. As Wang Yuejin points out, Red Sorghum defines wine-drinking as "an externalization of masculinity," and intoxication as "a way of challenging authority." (18) Zhang's chorus reminds me of that in Greek theater, which is held in great esteem in Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy. Not coincidentally, this is a book that has influenced Zhang Yimou. As Mo Yan, the author of the Red Sorghum family saga recalls, "a while ago Zhang Yimou wrote to us editors, saying that he was reading Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy. He said he really admired Nietzsche's Dionysian spirit." (19)

For Nietzsche, chorus embodies the very spirit of the ideal tragedy: the combination of the Apollonian and the Dionysian--two different yet interacting elements in art. The "Apollonian" spirit is marked by measure and moderation, while the "Dionysian" spirit, signified by music, is that of intoxication and excess. The Apollonian is identified with the dream state which is a model for "life" and will later be proved as mere appearance. Nietzsche rejects any form of action since temporal action exerts no impact on a world which is permanently "out of joint." To believe that action is useful we need illusions--and this illusion about value in the world allow the characters on stage to act. Even though life is futile and happiness is temporary, people need a means to justify their existence, however false the world may prove to be. The Dionysian reality is therefore different and separated from everyday reality. It seems that Nietzsche's chorus is a constructed shield which defends the ideal and freedom created in art against the invasion of the material reality. (20)

The high-spirited men who yell "drink our wine, one dares to walk through the Black Death Ridge; drink our wine, one does not kowtow even at the sight of the emperor" are indeed a celebration of the Dionysian spirit. They embody the desire to vindicate one's existence and to overcome social restraints on the individual. The chorus exhibits a confidence and carnivalistic joy not often seen in Zhang's later movies. Significantly for me, this chorus is a male chorus which forms a drastic contrast with that of the female in Raise the Red Lantern.

The vigorous song in Red Sorghum conveys a sense of strength and hope; the female voice in Raise the Red Lantern is well-rehearsed and refined, but lacks the carrying power. Used diegetically, the wine song represents male virility and independence whose expression does not need to rely on external, non-diegetic devices. Unlike the Greek chorus, which exists outside of the narrative and jumps into and out of the dramatic action from time to time, Zhang Yimou's male chorus is diegetic. Instead of breaking the spell of the story on the audience and serving as intermediary between the two, his chorus participates in the narrative and performs a spontaneous response to the story. It seems that the Dionysian chorus in Red Sorghum is inseparable from the everyday reality, although it can be argued that the material reality in the film is not a realistic, but rather a constructed world.

A few oppositions seem to be established by the two movies: masculinity and femininity; the primitive and the cultured; joy and sorrow; and ultimately, life and death. Masculinity is aligned with strength and hope, while femininity is associated with oppression and sorrow. It is simplistic to quickly accuse Zhang Yimou of reproducing the patriarchal order that he vows to subvert. In Red Sorghum masculinity is depicted as being natural, innocent, and productive. It is represented by the uncultivated men in the winery who are determined to live a life of their own. Men with power, wealth, or privilege however, are portrayed as weak, impotent, and pitiful. They are male, yet not masculine. In this sense, masculinity is not confined to the realm of the male, but rather symbolic of the national spirit that is held by Zhang as a remedy for a culture whose original energy has been weakened and confined by man-made fetters in the process of civilization.

Yet Zhang Yimou's metaphorical representation of femininity and masculinity also renders his "sympathetic" treatment of women problematic, especially when compared with the representation of the male in Red Sorghum. While Red Sorghum impresses the viewer as spontaneous and natural, the power of Raise the Red Lantern appears somewhat strained in comparison. It is disturbing to see the dichotomy between virility and powerlessness being embodied by the gendered choruses in the two movies. The professional female chorus is filled with so much sorrow and grief that it turns palid when heard together with the sonorous utterances of the male. The males sing songs while the females hum wordless tunes. The men are able to express themselves through speech while the women can only protest in silence. In Zhang Yimou's films, woman stands for all those who are victimized and silenced by the artificial "civilization." Because of this, Judou, Zhang's second movie (his first addressing women's issues), almost totally abandons the festive atmosphere of Red Sorghum. In Raise the Red Lantern, his third movie, the heroines' resistance is courageous and desperate, yet it does not suggest any practical way out. The film begins with a raucous opera piece and ends with the melancholy and quickly speeding voices of the chorus, which suggests the derangement of Songlian. She paces aimlessly in the courtyard on the wedding night of the master and his fifth wife. As the camera pulls back, we are given a full view of the house and Songlian. Not coincidentally, this is a visualization of the Chinese character "prisoner."

From Red Sorghum to Raise the Red Lantern, Zhang Yimou shifts his focus from the "masculine" to the "feminine," which also changes the tone of his movies from joyous and optimistic to burdened and helpless. Although it can be argued that the protocols of femininity and masculinity are used symbolically as political commentaries, it is still disturbing how the movies manage to perpetuate gender stereotypes.

(1) . E. Ann Kaplan, "Melodrama/Subjectivity/Ideology: Western Melodrama Theories and Their Relevance to Recent Chinese Cinema", in Melodrama and Asian Cinema, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993), p.12.

(2) . In his influential essay Thomas Elsaesser praises the works of Douglas Kirk, Nicholas Ray, and Vincente Minnelli for being socially conscious and artistically innovative. They brought Hollywood melodrama of the 1940s and 1950s to an unprecedented level and were considered by him as "sophisticated family melodramas." See Elsaesser, "Tales of Sound and Fury: Observations on the Family Melodrama", in Film Genre Reader II, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995), pp.350-380.

Op.cit. p.358.

(3) . Claudia Gorbman, Unheard Melodies, (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana UP; London: BFI Publishing House, 1987), p. 56.

(4) . IBID. p.58.

(5) . IBID. p.55.

(6) . IBID. p.32.

(7) . Carol Finn gives a summary of feminist writings on music in her essay "The `Problem' of Femininity in Theories of Film Music", in Screen, Vol.27 (1986), p.56-72. For many feminists, the significance of the music lies in its connection to the maternal and the libidinal and its capacity to signify without relying upon standard, patriarchal conventions.

(8) . Stephanie Alison Hoare, "Melodrama and Innovation: Literary Adaptation in Contemporary Chinese Film," DAI 50-09 (1989): 2901A (Cornell University), p.4.

(9) . See Ma Ning, "Symbolic Representation and Symbolic Violence: Chinese Family Melodrama of the Early 80s", in Melodrama and Asian Cinema, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993), pp.29-58.

(10) . Claudia Gorbman, Op.cit. p.63.

(11) . Rey Chow, Primitive Passions: Visuality, Sexuality, Ethnography, and Contemporary Chinese Cinema, (New York: Columbia UP, 1995), p.171.

(12) . Jeanne Silverthorne, "The Haunted Woman", in Artforum, (March 1992), p.87.

(13) . See the entry on flute in C.A.S. Williams' Outlines of Chinese Symbolism and Art Motives, (Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1974), p.193.

(14) . Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema," in Visual and Other Pleasures, (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1989), p.19.

(15) . IBID. p.25.

(16) . See Luo Xueyin, "Zhang Yimou Tan Honggaoliang Chuangzuo Tihui"[Interview with Zhang Yimou about the Red Sorghum], in Lun Zhang Yimou [On Zhang Yimou], (Beijing: China Film Publishing House, 1994), p.177.

(17) . IBID.

(18) . Wang Yuejin, "Mixing Memory and Desire: Red Sorghum A Chinese Version of Masculinity and Femininity", in Public Culture, Vol.12, no.3 (1989), p.39.

(19) . Mo Yan, "Yejiao Honggaoliang Jiazu Beiwanglu"[Memorandum to The Red Sorghum Family Saga], in Lun Zhang Yimou [On Zhang Yimou], (Beijing: Beijing Film Publishing House, 1994), p.194.

(20) . Friedrich Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy, trans. Walter Kaufman, (New York: Vintage Books, 1967).
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Author:Wei, Yanmei
Date:Feb 1, 1997
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