Zhang Yimou
Chinese film director
Zhang Yimou
Zhang Yimou is a Chinese film director, producer, writer and actor, and former cinematographer. He is counted amongst the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers, having made his directorial debut in 1987 with Red Sorghum.
Zhang Yimou's personal information overview.
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'Gone Girl' Is About To Find Company In 'The Social Network' And 'Pulp Fiction'
Huffington Post - over 2 years
The New York Film Festival is one of many possible stops along the road to the Oscar stage, and with the announcement that David Fincher's "Gone Girl" is this year's opening-night selection, it seems the thriller is readying a strong awards push. Over the past 20 years, 13 movies that opened the festival went on to bask in Oscar glory, while only seven garnered at least $50 million at the box office. We're not too worried about "Gone Girl" finding its place among those honors: In 2011, Fincher's "Social Network" went on to become a Best Picture frontrunner after grossing nearly $100 million on domestic shores. Whether "Gone Girl" will hold up when awards season rolls around is yet to be seen, but the adaptation of Gillian Flynn's best-seller is a guaranteed cash cow for 20th Century Fox. What stature will it find among the past two decades of New York Film Festival opening nights, which have become notable showcases for all-star directors' new projects? Let's review recent years' se ...
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Huffington Post article
Chinese filmmaker fined $1.2M for breach of one-child policy
CNN - about 3 years
Oscar-nominated Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou has been fined 7.48 million yuan ($1.2 million) for breaching China's one-child policy, authorities say.
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CNN article
China: Filmmaker Zhang Yimou fined $1M for breach of one-child policy
CNN - about 3 years
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CNN article
Director Zhang Yimou fined $1.2M for having 3 kids
Yahoo News - about 3 years
BEIJING (AP) — Famed film director Zhang Yimou must pay more than $1.2 million in fines for having three children in violation of China's strict family planning rules, officials said Thursday.
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Yahoo News article
'I have 3 kids,' Chinese filmmaker admits
CNN - about 3 years
Oscar-nominated director Zhang Yimou "sorry" for violating China's family planning law.
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CNN article
Sinosphere Blog: Zhang Yimou Offers to Pay Fine for One-Child Policy Violation
NYTimes - over 3 years
The prominent Chinese film director acknowledged that he had two sons and a daughter with his current wife but denied rumors that he had seven children with four different women.     
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NYTimes article
China: Filmmaker Zhang Yimou flouted 'one-child' rules
USA Today - over 3 years
Director and his wife have three children and could face $26 million fine.
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USA Today article
Star Chinese director admits defying 1-child rule
Yahoo News - over 3 years
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese director Zhang Yimou has admitted flouting his country's strict family planning rules by having three children with his wife, but rejected rumors that he had fathered seven children with several women.
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Yahoo News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Zhang Yimou
  • 2014
    On February 7, 2014, it was reported that Zhang had paid the fee.
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    On January 9, 2014, the Lake District Family Planning Bureau, in accord with China's one-child policy, said Zhang was required to pay an unplanned birth and social maintenance fee totaling RMB 7.48 million (roughly US $1.2 million).
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  • 2013
    On November 29, 2013, under pressure from the public and criticism on the Internet, Zhang's studio released a statement that acknowledged Chen Ting and their three children.
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  • 2011
    According to the mainstream media in China, Zhang married Chen Ting, who is a dancer in December 2011; she had three children with him.
    More Details Hide Details However, when the news came out, Zhang had no immediate response.
    Zhang's 2011 The Flowers of War was his most expensive film to date, budgeting for $90.2 million, until his 2016 The Great Wall surpassed it by $135–160 million
    More Details Hide Details Starting in the 1990s, Zhang Yimou has been directing stage productions in parallel with his film career. In 1998, he directed an acclaimed version of Puccini's opera Turandot, firstly in Florence and then later Turandot at the Forbidden City, Beijing, with Zubin Mehta conducting, the latter documented in the film The Turandot Project (2000). He reprised his version of Turandot in October 2009, at the Bird's Nest Stadium in Beijing, and plans to tour with the production in Europe, Asia and Australia in 2010. In 2001, Zhang adapted his 1991 film Raise the Red Lantern for the stage, directing a ballet version. Zhang has co-directed a number of outdoor folk musicals under the title Impression. These include Impression, Liu Sanjie, which opened in August 2003 at the Li River, Guangxi province; Impression Lijiang, in June 2006 at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Lijiang, Yunnan province; Impression West Lake, in late 2007 at the West Lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province; Impression Hainan in late 2009, set in Hainan Island; and Impression Dahongpao set on Mount Wuyi, in Fujian province. All five performances were co-directed by Wang Chaoge and Fan Yue.
  • 2010
    On May 24, 2010, Zhang was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree by Yale University, and was described as "a genius with camera and choreography."
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  • 2008
    In 2008, he won a Peabody Award "for creating a spell-binding, unforgettable celebration of the Olympic promise, featuring a cast of thousands" at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
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    Zhang's recent films, and his involvement with the 2008 Olympic ceremonies, have not been without controversy.
    More Details Hide Details Some critics claim that his recent works, contrary to his earlier films, have received approval from the Chinese government. However, in interviews, Zhang has said that he is not interested in politics, and that it was an honour for him to direct the Olympic ceremonies because it was "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
  • 2005
    Released in China in 2005, Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles was a return to the more low-key drama that characterized much of Zhang's middle period pieces.
    More Details Hide Details The film stars Japanese actor Ken Takakura, as a father who wishes to repair relations with his alienated son, and is eventually led by circumstance to set out on a journey to China. Zhang had been an admirer of Takakura for over thirty years. 2006's Curse of the Golden Flower saw him reunited with leading actress Gong Li. Taiwanese singer Jay Chou and Hong Kong star Chow Yun-fat also starred in the period epic based on a play by Cao Yu.
  • 2004
    Zhang followed up the huge success of Hero with another martial arts epic, House of Flying Daggers, in 2004.
    More Details Hide Details Set in the Tang Dynasty, it starred Zhang Ziyi, Andy Lau, and Takeshi Kaneshiro as characters caught in a dangerous love triangle. House of Flying Daggers received acclaim from critics, who noted the use of colour that harked back to some of Zhang's earlier works.
  • 2003
    Hero was one of the few foreign-language films to debut at number 1 at the U.S. box office, and was one of the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2003 Academy Awards.
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  • 2002
    Zhang's next major project was the ambitious wuxia drama Hero, released in China in 2002.
    More Details Hide Details With an impressive lineup of Asian stars, including Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Zhang Ziyi, and Donnie Yen, Hero told a fictional tale about Ying Zheng, the King of the State of Qin (later to become the first Emperor of China), and his would-be assassins. The film was released in North America in 2004, two years after its Chinese release, by American distributor Miramax Films, and became a huge international hit.
  • 1999
    Shot immediately after Not One Less, Zhang's 1999 film The Road Home featured a new leading lady in the form of the young actress Zhang Ziyi, in her film debut.
    More Details Hide Details The film is based on a simple throw-back narrative centering on a love story between the narrator's parents. Happy Times, a relatively minor film by Zhang, was based loosely on the short story Shifu: You'll Do Anything for a Laugh, by Mo Yan. Starring popular Chinese actor Zhao Benshan and actress Dong Jie, it was an official selection for the Berlin International Film Festival in 2002.
    As in The Story of Qiu Ju, Zhang returned to the neorealist habit of employing non-professional actors and location shooting for Not One Less in 1999 which won him his second Golden Lion prize in Venice.
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  • 1995
    Shanghai Triad followed in 1995, featuring Gong Li in her seventh film under Zhang's direction.
    More Details Hide Details The two had developed a romantic as well as a professional relationship, but this would end during production of Shanghai Triad. Zhang and Gong would not work together again until 2006's Curse of the Golden Flower. 1997 saw the release of Keep Cool, a black comedy film about life in modern China. Keep Cool marked only the second time Zhang had set a film in the modern era, after The Story of Qiu Ju.
  • 1992
    The film, which tells the tale of a peasant woman seeking justice for her husband after he was beaten by a village official, was a hit at film festivals and won the Golden Lion award at the 1992 Venice Film Festival.
    More Details Hide Details Next, Zhang directed To Live, an epic film based on the novel by Yu Hua of the same name. To Live highlighted the resilience of the ordinary Chinese people, personified by its two main characters, amidst three generations of upheavals throughout Chinese politics of the 20th century. It was banned in China, but released at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize, as well as earning a Best Actor prize for Ge You. To Live was banned in China by the Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, due to its critical portrayal of various policies and campaigns of the Communist government.
    Zhang's next directorial work, The Story of Qiu Ju, in 1992, once again starring Gong Li in the lead role.
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  • 1989
    In 1989, he was a member of the jury at the 16th Moscow International Film Festival.
    More Details Hide Details After the success of Ju Dou, Zhang began work on Raise the Red Lantern. Based on Su Tong's novel Wives and Concubines, the film depicted the realities of life in a wealthy family compound during the 1920s. Gong Li was again featured in the lead role, her fourth collaboration with Zhang as director. Raise the Red Lantern received almost unanimous international acclaim. Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times noted its "voluptuous physical beauty" and sumptuous use of colours. Gong Li's acting was also praised as starkly contrasting with the roles she played in Zhang's earlier films. Raise the Red Lantern was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 1992 Academy Awards, becoming the second Chinese film to earn this distinction (after Zhang's Ju Dou). It eventually lost out to Gabriele Salvatores's Mediterraneo.
  • 1988
    Red Sorghum was met with critical acclaim, bringing Zhang to the forefront of the world's art directors, and winning him a Golden Bear for Best Picture at the 38th Berlin International Film Festival in 1988.
    More Details Hide Details Codename Cougar (or The Puma Action), a minor experiment in the political thriller genre, was released in 1989, featuring Gong Li and eminent Chinese actor Ge You. However, it garnered less-than-positive reviews at home and Zhang himself later dismissed the film as his worst. In the same year, Zhang began work on his next project, the period drama Ju Dou. Starring Gong Li in the eponymous lead role, along with Li Baotian as the male lead, Ju Dou, garnered as much critical acclaim as had Red Sorghum, and became China's first film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • 1987
    1987 saw the release of Zhang's directorial debut, Red Sorghum, starring Chinese actress Gong Li in her first leading role.
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    He is counted amongst the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers, having made his directorial debut in 1987 with Red Sorghum.
    More Details Hide Details Zhang has won numerous awards and recognitions, with Best Foreign Film nominations for Ju Dou in 1990, Raise the Red Lantern in 1991, and Hero in 2003, Silver Lion and Golden Lion prizes at the Venice Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 1993, he was a member of the jury at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival. Zhang directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, which received considerable international acclaim. One of Zhang's recurrent themes is the resilience of Chinese people in the face of hardship and adversity, a theme which has been explored in such films as, for example, To Live (1994) and Not One Less (1999). His films are particularly noted for their rich use of colour, as can be seen in some of his early films, like Raise the Red Lantern, and in his wuxia films like Hero and House of Flying Daggers. His most recent film is a historical drama film called Coming Home.
  • 1985
    In 1985, after moving back to his home town of Xi'an, Zhang was engaged as cinematographer and lead actor for director Wu Tianming's upcoming film Old Well, which was subsequently released in 1987.
    More Details Hide Details The lead role won Zhang a Best Actor award at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
  • 1984
    This led to the production of Zhang Junzhao's One and Eight, on which Zhang Yimou worked as director of photography, and Chen Kaige's Yellow Earth, in 1984.
    More Details Hide Details These two films were successes at the Hong Kong Film Festival and helped to bring the new Chinese cinema to the attention of worldwide audiences, signaling a departure from the earlier propagandist films of the Cultural Revolution. Yellow Earth is today widely considered the inaugural film of the Fifth Generation directors.
  • 1982
    Zhang graduated with the class of 1982, which also included Chen Kaige, Tian Zhuangzhuang, and Zhang Junzhao.
    More Details Hide Details The class went on to form the core of the Fifth Generation, who were a part of an artistic reemergence in China after the end of the Cultural Revolution. Zhang and his co-graduates were assigned to small regional studios, and Zhang was sent to work for the Guangxi Film Studio as a cinematographer. Though originally intended to work as director's assistants, the graduates soon discovered there was a dearth of directors so soon after the Cultural Revolution, and gained permission to start making their own films.
  • 1978
    In 1978, he went to Beijing Film Academy and majored in photography.
    More Details Hide Details He has an Honorary Doctorate Degree from Boston University and also one from Harvard University. When the Beijing Film Academy reopened its doors to new students in 1978, following the abandonment of policies adopted during the Cultural Revolution, Zhang, at 27, was over the regulation age for admission, and was without the prerequisite academic qualifications. After a personal appeal to the Ministry of Culture, and showing a portfolio of his personal photographic works, the authorities relented and admitted him to the Faculty of Cinematography.
  • 1951
    Born on November 14, 1951.
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