Zhang Yimou (1951- ) is one of the leading lights of Chinese film and is often considered one of the greatest living 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 Olympics.
The films of Zhang Yimou include:
- Red Sorghum
- Ju Dou
- Raise the Red Lantern
- To Live
- Shanghai Triad
- The Road Home
- House of Flying Daggers
- Curse of the Golden Flower
- Amazing Tales: Three Guns - his first (epically failed) attempt at comedy.
- Under the Hawthorne Tree
- A Woman, A Gun, and a Noodle Shop - his second (epically failed) attempt at comedy, and a remake of The Coen Brothers film Blood Simple to boot.
Tropes found in or relating to Zhang Yimou's work (except Hero, House of Flying Daggers, and Curse of the Golden Flower) 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 Coded for Your Convenience: Striking and heavily symbolic use of color is considered to be part of Zhang's Signature Style. Besides his Wuxia films, Raise the Red Lantern is a particularly good example.
- The Muse: Gong Li, in his earlier period.
- Scenery Porn: Let's just say this, his films are GORGEOUS, especially Red Sorghum and Raise The Red Lantern.
- Second Sino-Japanese War: The main setting of Red Sorghum and touched on in To Live.
- Wuxia: His last three films have all more or less been wuxia, in contrast to his slower-paced, more contemplative earlier ouvre.