Huang Tudi

Yellow Earth is the most impressive film from mainland China unveiled so far in the West. Its simple story is told with considerable depth of feeling, allied to classical direction and impeccably composed images.

With:
Xue Bai Wang Xueqi Tan Tuo Liu Qiang

Yellow Earth is the most impressive film from mainland China unveiled so far in the West. Its simple story is told with considerable depth of feeling, allied to classical direction and impeccably composed images.

The year is 1939, and China is at war with Japan. However, in the remote north of Shaanxi Province, where peasant farmers live and work in grinding poverty, the war is unknown and far away. Though bordering the swiftly flowing Yellow River, the terrain is rocky, dusty and arid.

Gu Qing (Wang Xueqi), a Communist soldier, is sent from the Army h.q. at Yan’an (depicted as a place of cheerful celebration) to Shaanbei, partly to collect folk songs of the region, partly to influence the locals in favor of Communism. He stays with a poor family – a widower, his 12-year-old daughter, Cui Qiao (Xue Bai), and 10-year-old son, Hanhan (Liu Qiang). At first they are suspicious of the stranger, but gradually he wins them over.

For 32-year-old director Chen Kaige, working out of the small Guangxi Film Studio, this is a quite remarkable achievement. He tells the story (from an essay by Ke Lan) with great subtlety and delicacy, allowing silences, looks and gestures to convey the feelings of his characters. The compositions of cinematographer Zhang Yimou are outstanding.

Huang Tudi

China

Production: Guangxi. Dir Chen Kaige; Screenplay Zhang Ziliang; Camera Zhang Yimou; Editor Pei Shuinan; Music Zhao Jiping Art Dir He Qun

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1984. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: Xue Bai Wang Xueqi Tan Tuo Liu Qiang

More Film

  • 'Far From the Tree' Review

    Film Review: 'Far From the Tree'

    Yellow Earth is the most impressive film from mainland China unveiled so far in the West. Its simple story is told with considerable depth of feeling, allied to classical direction and impeccably composed images. The year is 1939, and China is at war with Japan. However, in the remote north of Shaanxi Province, where peasant […]

  • Jing Tian The Great Wall

    Hollywood May Win Quota Concession in China (Report)

    Yellow Earth is the most impressive film from mainland China unveiled so far in the West. Its simple story is told with considerable depth of feeling, allied to classical direction and impeccably composed images. The year is 1939, and China is at war with Japan. However, in the remote north of Shaanxi Province, where peasant […]

  • Damascus Cover review

    Film Review: 'Damascus Cover'

    Yellow Earth is the most impressive film from mainland China unveiled so far in the West. Its simple story is told with considerable depth of feeling, allied to classical direction and impeccably composed images. The year is 1939, and China is at war with Japan. However, in the remote north of Shaanxi Province, where peasant […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    Shinobu Hashimoto, Scriptwriter for Akira Kurosawa, Dies at 100

    Yellow Earth is the most impressive film from mainland China unveiled so far in the West. Its simple story is told with considerable depth of feeling, allied to classical direction and impeccably composed images. The year is 1939, and China is at war with Japan. However, in the remote north of Shaanxi Province, where peasant […]

  • 'Path of Blood' Review: The Mask

    Film Review: 'Path of Blood'

    Yellow Earth is the most impressive film from mainland China unveiled so far in the West. Its simple story is told with considerable depth of feeling, allied to classical direction and impeccably composed images. The year is 1939, and China is at war with Japan. However, in the remote north of Shaanxi Province, where peasant […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content