Quick-Thoughts: Chen Kaige’s Yellow Earth (1984)

The 4K restoration of this needs to be released ASAP.

Art, in this case through the medium of music, carries the weight of adversity; it provokes the motivation and spiritual reasoning behind continuing with any fight for fruitful cultural evolution or change.

Yellow Earth seeps us ideally into the patriarchal anguish of a poverty-struck environment through Kaige Chen’s immersive pacing and Zhang Yimou’s seriously breathtaking cinematography, partnered though by perhaps what many will see as quite one-note story material, often captured in such grand yet intentionally hollow landscape frames. Nonetheless, its dreamlike portrait of ceaseless struggle in company of a too distant savior becomes the psychological element that makes the film really worth watching, advanced also by evocative lyricism — damn, especially that tune about piss — in its semi-musical presence and by a mighty yet tragic poetic closer. In the s**t, hold onto words for as long as you can, until they mean nothing anymore to the new you.

Verdict: B

“Yellow Earth” is now available to stream on YouTube.

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