Art of the People: Folk Aesthetics

This placed Yellow Earth within a framework of Third Cinema. Its creative use of filmic space and non-Western narrative place it outside of Western cinema. Art of the People: Folk Aesthetics Characteristic of Third Cinema is the use of folk art. In cinematic terms, this also means the use of non-western conventions as “folk aesthetics”. Teshome Gabriel cites three characteristics of folk art as”; art as an occasion for collective engagement, emphasis on contextual relevance, art defined in terms of context”.

In Yellow Earth, the incorporation of folk songs and ballads, or ‘sour tunes’ helps to place the film in the context of Third Cinema. The folk songs are sung by all, the artistry does not rest in elite. They are the poetry of everyday existence to the rural people. Traditional forms of art have an important place in the lives of Third World people, and the incorporation of these art forms is characteristic of Third Cinema. Teshome Gabriel writes:

In China, the years following the downfall of the 10 year reign of the Cultural Revolution produced a climate ripe for a politicized revolutionary cinema. The cinema in China remains bound to censorship and banning of films. The overtly politically challenging film The Blue Kite, set in the decade leading up to the Cultural Revolution, was banned and denounced by Chinese authorities. What has emerged then is the need to create a new language for the cinema to speak with.

The language of Yellow Earth draws upon Chinese art to create a new aesthetic, a Third Cinema aesthetic. In Yellow Earth, the visual settings as the peaceful village remounts back into culture and the Chinese traditions in the 1940’ and being oppressed by it’s communist leaders has a touch of tranquility and good aura. The visual can explain emotions, feelings, senses as they display the color , the faces of the one’s hurting; or the one’s who are in pain.

Visualizations are a need to understand what the editor is trying to tell us the viewer about his point of view. The need to understand his way of communication throughout this film defiantly in this troubled time in China as the political regime was at its most crucial time throughout the Cultural Revolution. Mr. Director Chen Kaige and cameraman Zhang Yimou were first graduates of the Beijing Film Academy, closed during the Cultural Revolution, and this debut feature was significant beyond its quality as a beautifully made movie.

It uses little dialogue to portray its story. Its mission is to find the songs for adaptation to political use. Deeply rooted in the life of the villagers, this is a film about the notion of change – something not countenanced by the authorities. Mr. Chen’s vivid idea of bringing the visualization of the background, the setting, the color in its production and the emphasis of little dialog to enhance the beauty of China and its people who were going thru tough times with the political rules and communism.

This story brings every aspect and way of life to the rest of the world through a film which tells the truth of a village which customs and traditions was the way of life. Yellow Earth is based on the land and the people who are attached to it, the people who work it, live in it and fight for it. Cuiqiao believed the way of her life was different and was ready to fight for what she believed in. Freedom of choice, choosing the man who she wanted to spend the rest of her life was her choice, she fought for it.