Intermedial performativity refers to what happens to the performative power of text when it travels from one medium to another, and what effects the mixing or interactions of different media bring about to the texts involved. Here, “text” is used broadly, not just literary texts, but also texts in other kinds of media forms, such as film and TV. In this paper, Red Sorghum, both a novel written by Mo Yan, a Chinese Nobel Laureate, and a namesake film directed by Zhang Yimou, one of the leading Chinese fifth-generation film directors, will be closely analyzed from the perspective of intermedial performativity. The following questions will be mainly addressed: How did the ritualistic acts or signs in the novel get transmitted and transformed in the film adaptation? What kind of visual elements did the film borrow from the novel and then appropriate to achieve great effects? In what ways did Red Sorghum on both page and screen reflect or even contribute to the counterculture movements in the mid- to late 1980s China, which is in many ways similar to the 1960s in the United States and Europe in terms of cultural radicalism?

You do not currently have access to this content.