Raise the Red Lantern

9 September 2016

Raise the Red Lantern Question: What ideas are conveyed in the film Raise the Red Lantern? Raise the Red Lantern is a movie directed by Zhang Yimou. The plot of this movie is that an educated young woman named Songlian marries a wealthy man as a concubine and the experiences she is having in this household. This movie provides a valuable insight into China’s culture and history. It shows the lives of the rich noble class in the 1920s and portrays the lives of the concubines in a Chinese household.

This movie presents the ideas of a woman’s role and status in a Chinese household and the traditions, rules and customs of China. The women’s role and status in a Chinese household is what a woman is required to do. The purpose of her existence in a wealthy household is to serve the Master. Their lives are controlled by the Master and they have to do what the Master orders them to do. During the opening scene, the role of the women is explained by Songlian when she was talking to her mother about “a woman’s fate”.

Raise the Red Lantern Essay Example

She said that a woman’s fate in a China is to serve their husband and that they should have no freedom. This scene was taken using a close up of her face and the tears when she said those words. No one was around her when she said it and her mother is not shown in the film. We cannot hear anything except for the sound of her voice and her mother did not reply when Songlian said this speech. This demonstrates her feelings and mood and shows that she feels isolated and sorrowful during this scene.

She feels that she is completely alone and even though she said that being a concubine is a woman’s fate, she still is against this idea and does not wish to be in this position. The second example is the fact that Songlian struggles to be the Master’s favourite wife. By being the Master’s favourite wife she can have numerous privileges around the household and can hold power over the whole household. When 3rd wife has a foot massage the sound of the tool radiates throughout the house Songlian is shown sitting with her feet on a chair imagining that she was the one who was getting a foot massage.

This shows that all of the women in the household desire a foot massage and all of them want to be the Master’s favourite in order to gain power and status. The traditions, rule and custom of China is includes gender inequality and the rules in the household. During the film there is a film where Songlian explores the house and discovers the ‘Death House’. When she asks 2nd sister about it she is told that a lot of women died in that room. The ‘Death House’ is shot with long shot and creepy non-diegetic music. Songlian was obviously shaken after she went in the room and saw the shoes of women.

This represents the importance of rules and regulations in a wealthy household because if someone defies these rules deadly punishments will happen. The rules are set by the past generations and by following these rules the tradition of a household can be withheld. The rules and regulations were greatly amplified when 3rd sister was hanged for having an affair with Dr. Gao. The second evidence of the tradition of the household is the practice of lighting the lanterns. The red colour of the lanterns symbolises power because if the Master chooses to be with a wife for the night the lanterns of that wife will be lit.

The bright lanterns contrast with the dull colour of the buildings and it stands out from the grey walls. The concubines want the lanterns of their quarter to be lit because it is stated in the movie that whoever can get the Master they can earn power and respect. This movie shows the ideas of a woman’s role and status in a Chinese household and the traditions, rules and customs of China. All these points portray the life of being a concubine and the danger it holds. This movie presents the fact that women is considered inferior to men in China and are treated as servants.

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