RED FIRECRACKER, GREEN FIRECRACKER
DIRECTOR: HE PING
COUNTRY: CHINA 1994
CINEMATOGRAPHY: YANG LUN
MUSIC: ZHAO JIPING
CAST: Ning Jing, Wu Gang, Zhao Yiaorui
SUPER FEATURES: The story.
Chinese films just don't let up.
RED FIRECRACKER, GREEN FIRECRACKER, is another film in the long list of material that is dead serious bent on turning over a leaf in chinese history, where women are not important for anything except child bearing and cooking.
And a good thing, too. Because with strength like this, it will be a matter of days before the whole thing crumbles and another large country falls apart at the seems of its own viciousness. Traditions have had a lot to do with this stuff, and they seem to be hard to let go, specially when carried out by the men.
This is the story of a firecracker factory that has become one of China's best known and biggest. It's leader has died, and the person to take it over happens to be his daughter, who is immediately forbidden to marry to ensure that the fortune stays in the family. And the woman is watched every minute to make sure that she does not go beyond what she is told that she can, or can not do.
The rich family has everything that money can buy and work with. And it is now looking for another painter to do its decorations in their castle. But unlike the previous one, he is a young man, in his prime, and he takes an interest on the princess, and she takes an interest in him. But their love/hate relationship is a problem, not only to her but to him. Everyone around her, tries to make sure that she doesn't do anything with the painter. And the painter, tries everything he can to make sure that something does happen. And eventually, it does, and she spends time with him. But this pretty much creates havoc in her world. The elders are terribly upset, and the man that has been charged with making sure that no one can reach her, is all of a sudden being charged with not doing his job.
Eventually, a solution is found. And that is that they will allow her to marry a man that will agree to come into the family. And a contest is set up so that the suitors can vie for the prize. And her suitor is there, as well as the man in charge of making sure that she does not meet anyone else. After all these years, he is finally getting a chance at getting to the lady he really loves, but can never say so.
The context comes to an end, and the film ends in a rather interesting way, the woman is pregnant with the wrong man's child, and she did not marry.
And the film displays the cruelty that it has passed on down the ages to many of its own people, a tradition that eventually is going to fall apart, regardless of any resistance. And films of this kind, while getting out of the rather harsh and critical eye of the chinese system, get away with it, as long as they keep it so historical that no one notices that this is still going on today, by the very hands that are sharply cutting these films.
But the lyrical way this is done, is something else. This film, just like many of Zhang Yimou's material and others, is just so well designed and written that it is hard to fault it. It is terribly difficult to sit through sometimes, like TO LIVE, but, they are very satisfying in a way. You know that the individual human spirit may be broken, but it will survive, and its strength will one day shine, in another day and time.... and I, for one, sure hope so.
And not only for the sake of such beautifully directed works as this.
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