Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)

1987

Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)

Critics Consensus

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82%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 11

84%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,961
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Movie Info

Set in the northern province of Shandong during the 1920s and early 30s, a young bride, on her way to a prearranged future with the leprous owner of a wine distillery, avoids rape and then abduction, is seduced, takes over her mysteriously dead husband's business, is captured, then ransomed and ultimately perishes during the Manchurian invasion by the Japanese.

Cast

Li Gong
as Jiu Er
Liu Ji
as Father, as child
Jiu Ji
as Their Son
Ji Chunhua
as Sanpao, the Bandit Chief, Sanpan
Teng Rujun
as Luo Han
Rujun Ten
as Uncle Luohan
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News & Interviews for Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)

Critic Reviews for Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (2)

  • Satisfies both as straight folk tale and as a subversive tribute to the vitality and endurance of Chinese peasant culture.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Its supposedly innovative epic style looks decidedly old-fashioned here.

    Aug 30, 2004
  • There is a strength in the simplicity of this story, in the almost fairy-tale quality of its images and the shocking suddenness of its violence, that Hollywood in its sophistication has lost.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It's almost comforting that "Sorghum" has structural shortcomings -- if Yimou's debut were any better, he'd have to be tested for artistic steroids.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • "Red Sorghum" develops politically, not dramatically, and because the characters act according to social, not psychological, forces, there's nothing much to discover in them.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • As ever with Zhang, the supposedly heroic action is rife with visual and thematic subversion.

    Jan 16, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)

  • Feb 19, 2014
    Set in the 1920 and early 30s, this lush film seems almost timeless. It's about a young woman's life working on a distillery for sorghum liquor in China's eastern provinces. The story seems like a fairy tale until the violence at the end. It is melodramatic, but the cinematography is so luscious and passionate that it is absolutely stunning.
    Juli R Super Reviewer
  • Jul 11, 2012
    Another great Yimou film that is full of great drama and great storytelling. Kind of what we expect from this director.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2011
    So lush in a completely surprising way, but the story is boring. The best scene was when the servant guy rapes Gong Li in the sorghum fields.
    Jennifer X Super Reviewer
  • Mar 03, 2009
    RED SORGHUM might be the best Chinese film i've ever seen! Aesthetically, this film beats most of the American films which use CGI or any kind of digital technology to make their films look great. Yimou's use of color, sound and landscapes illustrate the whole atmosphere of the film. In terms of its narrative, the film treats on political issues set in the 1920s-30s. There are also some sexual tension between the characters which was less explicit before. Overall, this film is both tragic and comic. Director Zhang Yimou balances both very well. It is indeed a heavy film to watch but worth seeing! Basically, this is the Chinese film to see!
    Linda K Super Reviewer

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