One of a handful of films by the group of young Chinese directors labeled "the Fifth Generation," YELLOW EARTH is set during the skirmishes between China and Japan prior to WWII. Xueqi plays a communist soldier studying the local folk songs of the Shaanxi province. He settles in the
house of Tuo, a farmer who continues to plough his barren land in the hope the gods will reward him with a good crop. Along with Tuo are his 10-year-old son, and 14-year-old daughter, Bai, rumored to have the most beautiful voice in the province. The taciturn family slowly begins to open up to
Xueqi as he helps them with their daily work, but the tension between his "progressive" ideals and the time-honored protocols of village life leads to tragedy.
YELLOW EARTH was one of the first "Fifth Generation" films to reach Western eyes and was justifiably celebrated for its daring, colorful visuals and innovative, eye-opening rhythms.
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