Zhang Yimou

"His great strength is his mastery of filmmaking technique: photography, set design, use of sound an color are always vivid and impeccable. As a narrator, he favours complex, tragic melodramas that plot the shifting center of power and control in human relations." - The Macmillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994

Zhang Yimou

Director / Producer / Screenwriter / Cinematographer
(1951- ) Born November 14, Xi'an, Shaanxi, China
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: China, Hong Kong
Key Genres: Drama, Period Film, Rural Drama , Martial Arts, Marriage Drama, Romantic Drama, Comedy Drama, Family Drama, Coming-of-Age
Key Collaborators: Gong Li (Leading Actress), Du Yuan (Editor), Cao Juiping (Production Designer), Zhao Jiping (Composer), William Kong (Producer), Zhao Xiaoding (Cinematographer), Lü Yue (Cinematographer), Cheng Long (Editor), Huo Tingxiao (Production Designer), Zhang Ziyi (Leading Actress), Li Feng (Screenwriter), Wang Bin (Screenwriter)

"Known for his intimate personal dramas and lavish action period pieces, Yimou Zhang is one of the most prominent and critically acclaimed directors to emerge from the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers who began making films after the Cultural Revolution... Recently, Zhang made a major directorial shift with the period wushu martial arts films Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004), and Curse of the Golden Flower (2006). Although they retain Zhang's visual storytelling artistry, with its trademark use of flamboyant color as a motif, extravagant costumes, and graceful action sequences, the films drew criticism for glamorizing Eastern society for Western consumption." - William Sean Wilson (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"His early films were often suppressed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons, despite finding critical favour abroad. He is now one of the best-known and most influential members of China's Fifth Generation movement, a group of directors whose careers began after the Cultural Revolution; he has recently become known for lavish, digitally-enhanced historical action epics that showcase his love of dramatic, colourful visuals." - Chambers Film Factfinder, 2006
"Zhang Yimou's strengths are many: he has a command of intricate, quick narratives all the more surprising in that he sometimes dwells on shots or scenes - but complexities mount up very rapidly (as in the development of the brutal son in Ju Dou); he is as great a director of interiors as Ozu or Mizoguchi - the dye works in Ju Dou and the household in Raise the Red Lantern become superb stages for the melodrama; and he has Gong Li as his actress." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Among the first post-Mao film school graduates, Zhang Yimou dares to express moral ambiguity and an implicit reaction against authority in his films. Reacting against the propagandist films he was subjected to in his youth, former cameraman Zhang recalled that at film school, "we swore... we would never make films like that." - Ronald Bergan (Film - Eyewitness Companions, 2006)
"Given the decade he spent as a laborer, it comes as little surprise that Zhang Yi-Mou's films are rich, colorful, epic, dramatic tributes to the forbearance and integrity of everyday Chinese people, both contemporary and historic." - Jerome Szymczak (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"A fine director and cinematographer, Zhang has been consistently harassed by the Chinese authorities for his perceived criticism of the state apparatus. His first feature, Red Sorghum (1987), showed intense visual and intellectual promise, something borne out by his succeeding features, Ju-Dou (1990), the brilliant Raise the Red Lantern (1991), and To Live (1994)." - Mario Reading (The Movie Companion, 2006)
"I hope before I am getting too old and when my mind is still functioning, I can tell some better stories." - Zhang Yimou
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Red Sorghum (1987) , Ju Dou (1990) , Raise the Red Lantern (1991) , Shanghai Triad (1995)
Recommended
The Story of Qiu Ju (1992), To Live (1994), Hero (2002) , House of Flying Daggers (2004)
Worth a Look
Not One Less (1998), Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005), Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)
Approach with Caution
Keep Cool (1997)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    House of Flying Daggers
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