Question: Why did the Asian peasant girl cross the Yellow River? Answer: To join the Communist Party! Confusion exists as to whether or not this is pro- or anti- Communism - some insist the tone is scathing, leaning towards the latter; others take statements like "The comrades are the best people" at face value - and while I'm in the 'pro-' group, I think the ambiguity is a weakness rather than a strength, since the character development is shallow and the concept - that of workers being unhappy - is humdrum: the peasants sing about their misery, the young girl is married at a remarkably young age to an older man, and her 'escape plan' is portrayed as a small victory for her. The scenery's multi-layered complexity is by far the most captivating element.
Director: Chen Kaige
Year Released: 1984