Having watched about 20 episodes of Red Sorghum now, I can say that I am completely a Zhou Xun fan as she is such a stellar actress, she has so many expressions and her character is so strong-willed and in control of her life. If any woman is empowered, it’s her character in Red Sorghum, Dai Jiu Lian.
In the beginning of the series, she has to cope with a father who is always in debt to the extent that he sold Jiu Lian’s mother, a callous act which led to the mother taking her own life. The father sells Jiu Lian to a leprous man clinging on to life by a thread.
Along the way to the groom’s house, she falls in love with one of her sedan carriers who earlier saved her from a gang of bandits. Sedan carrier is a porter, a Jack of all trades who is really quite a character as he is boorish and doesn’t seem to care about the consequences of his actions. This is one guy who doesn’t think (carefully) before he acts leading to some accidental deaths.
There’s great chemistry between Zhou Xun and the leading man and I think one of the most unforgettable scenes is when she emerges from the sorghum fields where she and her lover have consummated their love and she gets on the donkey with such a satisfied smile.
The scenes where she parries with her widowed sister-in-law are some of the best scenes too as she shows that she can take care of herself. When the sister-in-law left her for dead after Jiu Lian had given birth to twins, it’s like Jiu Lian came back with a new lease of life and becomes a much stronger person. She doesn’t give a hoot as to what others think of her lifestyle and her bravery is to be admired especially for the time and age she lives in where society has strict norms as to how women should behave.