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Zhang Yimou

Ever since his directorial debut, Red Sorghum (1987) won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival, Zhang Yimou has established his reputation as one of the most talented and influential directors today.

Zhang Yimou was born in China in 1950 and studied cinematography at the Beijing Film Academy. He became a leading member of China's Fifth Generation Filmmakers, the first group to graduate following the turbulent Cultural Revolution. He is an accomplished actor, starring in Red Sorghum as well as earning the Best Actor Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival for his performance in Old Well (1986). Zhang Yimou is also a skilled cinematographer, with credits including Yellow Earth (1984), Old Well (1986), and The Big Parade (1986).

Zhang Yimou has received multiple honors as a director. He is the first Chinese filmmaker to receive Motion Picture Academy recognition, being nominated for Academy Awards? in the Best Foreign Film category for Ju Dou in 1990, Raise the Red Lantern in 1991, and Hero in 2003. He has earned numerous top honors, including the Silver Lion at the 44th Venice International Film Festival for Raise the Red Lantern (1991), the Golden Lion Award at the 45th Venice International Film Festival for The Story of Qiu Ju (1992), the Grand Jury Prize at the 47th Cannes International Film Festival for To Live (1994), the Golden Lion Award at the 52nd Venice International Film Festival for Not One Less (1999), the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for The Road Home (1999) and the Alfred Bauer Prize for Hero (2003). Hero went on to sweep the board at the 22nd Hong Kong Film Awards, winning awards for Best Action Choreography, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Music, Best Sound and Best Visual Effects.

Zhang Yimou's box office hit House of Flying Daggers is the recipient of multiple international awards as well as BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Best Foreign Film. He followed up with 2005's Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles.

Zhang Yimou's work is stretching in new directions. On the stage of New York's Metropolitan Opera in December 2006, he will direct Placido Domingo in the world premiere of composer Tan Dun's original opera The First Emperor. Zhang Yimou has also been named chief director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing, 2008.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Zhang Yimou Facts

OccupationDirector, Cinematographer
BirthdayNovember 14, 1951 (72)
BirthplaceXi'an, Shaanxi, People's Rep. of China

Selected Filmography

The Great Wall
House Of Flying Daggers
The Flowers Of War
Coming Home
Curse of the Golden Flower
Raise the Red Lantern
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