Mainland China, 1984
Guangxi Film Studio. PROD: Guo Ke-qi. DIR: Chen Kaige. SCR: Zhang Xiliang. CINE: Zhang Yimou. EDIT: Pei Xiaonan. CAST: Wang Xueqi, Xue Bai, Liu Qiang, Tan Tuo.
The film that changed Chinese cinema forever has lost none of its power or beauty since its explosive debut. In 1939, a young cadre comes to a dirt-poor village in Shaanxi province (the cradle of Chinese communism) to collect local folk songs so they can be adapted into Maoist anthems. (This same campaign created the theme for The East Is Red, screening on November 10). He befriends a young girl and educates her about the new social status that women will enjoy come the revolution. After he departs, she tries to follow him, with tragic consequences. Beautifully etching both the beauty and terror of rural life, director Chen Kaige and cinematographer Zhang Yimou upend all the conventions of Seventeen Years-style socialist realism through poetic symbolism drawn from ancient scroll paintings and an exquisite use of traditional folk music. A true milestone, Yellow Earth introduces all the key elements of Fifth Generation filmmaking and would help propel the Mainland to the top ranks of global cinema. "Chen Kaige and his cinematographer Zhang Yimou have invented a new language of colors, shadows, glances, spaces, and unspoken thoughts and implications; and they've made their new language sing" (Tony Rayns, Time Out London).
35mm, color, in Mandarin with English subtitles, 89 min.
Followed by: RED SORGHUM
UCLA Film & Television Archive
Billy Wilder Theater
Courtyard Level, Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Boulevard (at the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood Boulevards)
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tickets: $10 online. $9 general admission, $8 for non-UCLA students, seniors and UCLA Alumni Association members (ID required) if purchased at the box office only. Free admission for UCLA students (current ID required); free tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis at the box office until 15 minutes before showtime, or the rush line afterwards. Online tickets available at ; click on the individual program.
Parking: Museum parking lot; enter from Westwood Blvd, just north of Wilshire. $3 flat rate after 6:00 pm on Mondays-Fridays and all day on weekends.
UCLA Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024