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Use of Colour in Zhang Yimou's films

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Nathan Massey

on 27 November 2014

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Transcript of Use of Colour in Zhang Yimou's films

Chinese Cinema
Motion pictures were first introduced to China in 1896

Film industry didn't begin until 1913

First Chinese movie shot was the A Couple in Difficulty

Film industry restricted during the cultural revolution

One and Eight (1984) marks the start of a new era in the industry

Fifth generation of filmmakers
Wu Ziniu
Tian Zhuangzhuang
Huang Jianxin
He Ping
Zhang Yimou
Zhang Yimou
Graduated from Beijing Film Academy as a Cinematographer

Moved into Directing

Films particularly noted for their rich use of colour

Films are recognised as Art films

Focusing on a couple of his films
Raise the Red Lantern
Ju Dou
House of Flying Daggers
Raise the Red Lantern
A young woman becomes a concubine of a wealthy man after the death of her father. She discovers that her and her fellow concubines must compete for Master Chen's affections. This inevitably leads to jealousy, deception and dark secrets.

An unnamed fighter is honoured for defeating his King's most dangerous enemies, the fighter recounts his battles with the 3 assassins - Broken Sword, Flying Snow and Moon. The King tries to put his own take on the stories.
Ju Dou
Use of Colour In Zhang Yimou's films
Use of Colour
The use of red is very obvious in this film, as stated in the title.

The red lanterns are used as a symbol of power - so each woman has to achieve the lanterns raised in their courtyard to be victorious.

The red also depicts the passion, rage and murder that unwinds

Other colours such as grey and black show more of the mind games and deception involved throughout the film

The film focuses on a young woman who has been as a wife to an old cloth dyer, she's forced to endure her new husbands violent ways, however she finds comfort and solace of her husbands nephew, but falls pregnant, constantly trying to convince her husband that its his child while hiding a passionate romance
The colour red is used massively in this film

It represents many different things
An end

The red cloth was constantly seen with Ju Dou while she was having an affair, representing the many dangerous events to come
Firstly the Palace in the story is a dark grey, this shows the beginning and the end of the story .

- This is used as the first version of the story - for example in the fight scene in the calligraphy school - Red is ed to represent passion and love here, between two of the assassins which you find out later on in the film
- Is used the second version of the stories , where the King takes of the story telling
- Is used to represent the unknown part of the story, is this is the meeting between 2 of the assassins.
Its also used to represent the calmness, love and lust between the two assassins

White - Is used to represent death, in particular the death of the two lovers. In many asian cultures, white is used for death instead of black.
House of Flying Daggers
Two police officers are ordered to investigate a dancer called Mei, who is believed to be part of the House of Flying Daggers, however they both fall in love with her, but end up turning into enemies.
Overall Zhang Yimou's use of colour is very striking and vibrant, it really helps to drive the storyline and imagery. His films are no longer just films but art pieces, each scene beautifully set and thought out to stimulate the eye.

This is probably one of the main reasons he was asked to help direct the opening and closing of the Beijing Olympics
Green is the most obvious colour used here.
Although green is usely represented as calm, I believe throughout this film it means both calm, envy and jealousy.
As the two officers battle for Mei's love and affection, eventually leading to Mei's death - depictated in the snow
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