Zhang Yimou (张艺谋, 1951- ) is one of the leading lights of Chinese film and is often considered one of the greatest living Chinese directors. He tends to favor stories set in rural/historical China, often with an emphasis on the dark side of the setting, and also has a very strong visual style. Many of his movies contain remarkable Scenery Porn even within quite restricted settings. Was romantically involved with Gong Li for a number of years and featured her, and later Zhang Ziyi as leads in many of his films.
He gained a lot of applause for directing the truly spectacular opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The films of Zhang Yimou include:
- Red Sorghum - An adaptation of the Mo Yan novel.
- Ju Dou - Co-directed with Yang Fengliang
- Raise the Red Lantern
- The Story of Qiu-Ju
- To Live
- Shanghai Triad
- Keep Cool
- Not One Less
- The Road Home
- Happy Times
- House of Flying Daggers
- Curse of the Golden Flower
- Amazing Tales: Three Guns / A Woman, A Gun, and a Noodle Shop / A Simple Noodle Story - His first (epically failed) attempt at comedy, a remake of The Coen Brothers film Blood Simple to boot.
- Under the Hawthorne Tree
- Flowers of War
- The Great Wall
Tropes found in or relating to Zhang Yimou's work include:
- Banned in China: His film To Live was banned for having a negative portrayal of CCP policies. Zhang was also banned from making films for two years.
- Color Motif: Striking and heavily symbolic use of color is considered to be part of Zhang's Signature Style — the color-coded armies in Curse of the Golden Flower and The Great Wall for example. Besides his wuxia films, Raise the Red Lantern is also a striking example.
- Creator's Oddball: His film "A Simple Noodle Story" is a remake of the Coen Brothers comedy Blood Simple, which Zhang says is one of his favourites. It's rare for him to do a remake or a comedy.
- I Ate WHAT?!: Or rather drank what. In Red Sorghum, pissing in the vats makes the liquor taste better.
- The Muse: Gong Li, in his earlier period.
- Scenery Porn: His films typically use vividly colorful visuals and extremely detailed sets and costumes.
- Wuxia: Some of his recent films have all more or less been wuxia, in contrast to his slower-paced, more contemplativenote earlier works.