Book Tickets

Mon 29 Jul
Fri 09 Aug

Ju Dou 15

Part of Zhang Yimou: A Retrospective
Zhang Yimou, Yang Fengliang, China, Japan, 1990, 95m.

Zhang Yimou’s follow up to Red Sorghum (1987) revisits several of his debut’s key themes, but in a now far more rigid and stifling setting. The titular character (played by Gong Li) is newly wedded to an unspeakably cruel dye mill owner, who has murdered his previous two wives. When she embarks on a clandestine affair with her husband’s adoptive nephew, a deadly series of events is set in motion.

The middle part of Zhang’s loose ‘Red Trilogy’, Ju Dou is one of his great aesthetic achievements. The claustrophobic and cloistered world of the mill is rendered using old fashioned Technicolor processing, lending an already fairy tale-like narrative a rich and timeless visual sheen that resembles, at points, the fantasy worlds of Powell and Pressburger. The lurid vats of red dye stain the rigid physical and social structures of this airless setting which is ruptured only by a myriad of hiding places and peep holes where a game of voyeuristic desires plays out.

Our screening on Sunday 21 July was introduced by Victor Fan (KCL).

Gong Li, Li Wei, Li Baotian

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