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:

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[1] earlier ouvre.


  1. And contemporary: his earlier films mostly dealt with 20th-century China, while the Wuxia films are set in Imperial China
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