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[PROFILE] Zhang Yimou - 1st Chinese Director Receiving Motions Pictures Academy

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  • madchinaman
    China s storyteller Director of the month: Zhang Yimou 1st Chinese Director to Receive Recognitin from the Motions Pictures Academy
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 21, 2003
      China's storyteller
      Director of the month: Zhang Yimou
      1st Chinese Director to Receive Recognitin from the Motions Pictures

      STORIES about China are brilliantly portrayed in Zhang Yimou's
      movies, recognised with numerous awards at film festivals worldwide.

      Even as he is an accomplished actor -- having starred in Red Sorghum
      and earned the best actor award at the Tokyo International Film
      Festival for his performance in Old Well (1986) -- Zhang is more
      renowned as one of cinema's most talented and influential directors.

      His directorial debut, Red Sorghum (1987), won him the Golden Bear
      Award at the Berlin Film Festival.

      This winning streak continued at the Venice International Film
      Festival, which honoured his works Raise The Red Lantern (1991), The
      Story Of Qiu Ju (1992) and Not One Less (1999). At the 47th Cannes
      International Film Festival, To Live (1994) won him the Grand Jury

      Zhang is also the first Chinese filmmaker to receive recognition
      from the Motion Picture Academy, getting Oscar nominations in the
      Best Foreign Film category for Ju Dou in 1990 and Raise The Red
      Lantern in 1991.

      Having directed 11 films may make him a seasoned director. But his
      latest film, the critically-acclaimed Hero, is his first martial
      arts epic.

      Treading on unfamiliar grounds, Zhang describes the challenges in
      filming a wuxia (martial arts) movie. For example, the exciting,
      detailed description of a sword's strength and speed cannot be
      easily depicted on the screen like how a wuxia novel could because
      it is constrained by time.

      Nevertheless, Zhang, who has been fed on wuxia novels since
      childhood, had always hoped to make a martial arts film, but
      rejected the idea of adapting from available literature because, in
      his words, '... the plot always hinges on revenge. For years, this
      has been the only theme in Chinese martial arts films, whether it's
      Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan'.

      Three years were spent to develop the story of Hero, which is 'not
      only a martial arts film, but also a legend of what happened in
      ancient China'.

      Hoping to steer away from the cliche of martial arts films, Zhang
      elaborates: 'In my story, the goal is to downplay violence... For
      real martial arts heroes, the heart is far more important than the

      Hero, which costs US$31 million (S$54 million) to produce, has been
      submitted for entry for a Best Foreign Language movie Oscar.
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