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 Post subject: Zhang Yimou
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:38 am 
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Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden
Zhang Yimou (1951 - )

Image

I don't think art film directors are necessarily
any better or more pure than commercial film
directors. I like to watch commercial films that
are well done. I also respect their creativity.
I never praise one and condemn the other. I
think it's just a difference in ideas and methods,
that's all.

~ Zhang Yimou

(from interview with Ben Moger-Williams
& Wu Rummei, Beijing This Month)


Filmography

Hong gao liang / Red Sorghum (1987) Imagica (R2 JP) / Guangzhou Xin Sheng Culture Spread (R3 HK)

Daihao meizhoubao / Codename Cougar (1989)

Ju Dou (1990) Razor Digital Entertainment (R1) / Beauty Culture (R3 HK)

Da hong deng long gao gao gua / Raise the Red Lantern (1991) MGM (R1) – tbr 24th July, 2007 / Warner (R2 FR) / ERA (R3 HK)

Qui Jud a guan si / The Story of Qiu Ju (1992) Columbia (R1) / Mei Ah (R3 HK)

Huozhe / To Live (1994) MGM (R1) – tbr 24th July, 2007 / Kadokawa (R2 JP) / AV Channel (R4 AU)

Yao a yao yao dao waipo qiao / Shanghai Triad (1995) Columbia (R1)

Lumière et compagnie / Lumière and Company (segment, 1995)

You hua hao hao shuo / Keep Cool (1997)

Wo de fu qin mu qin / The Road Home (1999) Columbia (R1) / Columbia (R2 UK) / Sony (R2 JP)

Yi ge dou bun eng shao / Not One Less (1999) Columbia (R1) / Columbia (R2 UK) / Columbia (R2 DE) / Columbia (R2 FR)

Xingfu shiguang / Happy Times (2000) Columbia (R1) / Arte (R2 FR)

Ying xiong / Hero (2002) Miramax (R1) / Miramax (R2 UK) / Constantin (R2 DE) / Universal (R2 FR) / Elite Group (R2 JP) / Edko (R3 KR) / Weikai Face (R3 CH) / enterOne (R3 KR)

Shi mian mai fu / House of Flying Daggers (2004) Sony (R1) / Pathé Fox (R2 UK) / Universal (R2 FR) / Elite Group (R2 JP) / Zoke (R3 CH) / Edko (R3 HK) / Universal (R4 AU)

Qian li zou dan qi / Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) Sony (R1) / ERA (R3 HK) / Zoke (R3 CH)

Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia / Curse of the Golden Flower (2006) Sony (R1) / Bitwin (R3 KR) / Edko (R3 HK)

Chacun son cinema / To Each His Cinema (segment, 2007)

Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony (2008)

A Woman, A Gun and A Noodle Shop (2009)

Under The Hawthorn Tree (2010)


Forum Discussions

Chacun son cinema / To Each His Cinema

Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

Raise the Red Lantern & Ju Dou – discussion of several different DVD releases of these two films in various regions/countries

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles[/i] (2005)


Recommended Web Resources

Asia Source – Interview with Zhang Yimou by Barbara London (25 May, 2004)

Beijing This Month8 – Interview with Zhang Yimou by Ben Moger-Williams & Wu Rummei

Cineaction – “Allegory and ambiguity in Zhang Yimou's Shanghai Triad” by Shelly Kraicer (Spring, 1997)

Fabianweb – Guide to Zhang Yimou resources on the internt

Fukuoka City FAN – Interview with Zhang Yimou upon receiving the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize 2002

Monkey Peaches – Interview with Zhang Yimou (31 March, 2002)

Screening the Past – “Woman as spectacle in Zhang Yimou's ‘Theatre of punishments'” paper by Jeanette Delamoir (1998)

Senses of Cinema – Career overview by Mary Farquhar

Senses of Cinema – “The ‘Confusion Ethics' of Raise the Red Lantern” by David Neo

Senses of Cinema – “House of Flying Daggers: A Reappraisal” by Hwanhee Lee

Senses of Cinema – “The Road Home” by Dimitri Tsahuridis

Time – Interview with Zhang Yimou by Neil Gough (12 April, 2004)

Zhang Yimou Fan Site – Fan site dedicated to Zhang Yimou and Gong Li

Zhang Yimou Fan Site – Site with images from Zhang Yimou's films


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 12:55 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 2:39 pm
Location: Hangzhou
I've only made a couple of posts here, but I've been reading posts on this forum for roughly six months. I'm a youngen but my interest in cinema is surely broader than anyone else my age (23).

One of my many favourite filmmakers is Zhang Yimou - I've seen about 75% of his output. And there is no denying he is a genius. You will find however if you speak to some mainland Chinese that they don't really think much of him. (Truffaut said that the French will never appreciate their cinema as much a foreigner would) I found this before and after I came to China. Why did I come to China? To see 'Impression Lijiang' - An outdoor performance by Zhang Yimou. I saw a small picture of the performance in 'The Observer' newspaper and decided instantly I had to go. Little did I know that this was his second outdoor performance (not counting Turandot).

So I flew really cheap from Amsterdam - Cheng Du (brand new KLM route - 6 weeks old - only 600 euro return. KLM is the first airline to service Cheng Du to Europe) in late July. From Cheng Du, it is not too too far to Yunnan province where Zhang made his last film 'Riding Alone'. (If you had not much time you could fly directly from Cheng Du to Lijiang) Seeing some lovely cities along the way I got to Lijiang around 5 days later. Now finding information in China, even if you can speak Chinese, is a hard task. But I will add as much information as possible for anyone considering going to China to see this performance. And so they should! This is a once in a lifetime experience. The performance should run for a few years, but nothing is a sure thing. So get there soon!

Now for the performance: It was amazing. I was actually crying at home perfectly beautiful it all was. For the price of 20 Euro, you get what you would you pay 300 euro for back in the West. The performance involved the traditions of the ethnic peoples of South West China and gave the most amazing visual picture one will ever see away from a cinema screen or television set.

The creators - Zhang Yimou, Fan Yue and Wang Chaoge actually had the entire outdoor building built from scratch at the foot of the Jade Snowy Mountain on the outskirts of Lijiang. That's one reason why it cost US$31 million to produce this.

If I haven't really given a clear picture about what this performance entails, then that is just my nature - I never watch trailers and I never discuss films with people who haven't seen them (and vise versa).

There is a website for this performance but it simply doesn't work. The only benefit will be that you will hear some music from the performance, and some pictures of Lijiang and its surrounds (including the Snowy Mountain, which is the performances backdrop), and apparently lijiang123 is also an official site, but that doesn't even register.) Now if you want to call the box office you can do on - +8688888888 (This is actually a real number, believe it or not. Eight means fortune in Chinese, so they surely spent part of the 31 mil on this telephone number - 888 is actually the prefix for Lijiang). Additionally, you can also see one of the filming locations of Zhang's film 'Riding Alone' in ZhuHue village in Lijiang - most beautiful.

Now, after I got to China I vaguely some information on another performance on the net, but only when one German woman told about another Zhang Yimou performance she'd heard about in Yangshuo; I couldn't believe my luck. So after seeing more of Yunnan, I set of for Guanxi province. So in another five days I had reached Yangshuo where 'Impression Liu Sanjie' is held. The performance is an 'impression' on the 1960 film 'Liu Sanjie'. This performance actually began over 2 years ago! You can buy this film on VCD at the performance venue. And what a venue! Just as great a backdrop as Lijiang, the venue is the Li River with masses of jutting mountains behind. It is shown at night, with various lights falling over some 300 performers in water crafts and miscellaneous floating devices bringing colour and colour and colour to your watering eyes. Just fantastic.

This performance was designed by the same trio as mentioned before, with the addition of 67 other international artists over the last 2 years to create a now final version. The good news is that there is a very good website for this performance with both Chinese and English versions.

I've enjoyed China so much, I decided to stay and am now teaching English in Chongqing (namesake - Chungking Express). If you have any questions about the performances, just email me.

Lastly, some bad news. On top of the well known banned sites in China, BBC, wikipedia, and crazily yesasia are banned! Terrible.

P.S. In October I will fly to Henan province for the premiere (or near after) of Tan Dun's own outdoor performance in Shaolin, with some 200 monks performing in what will be something very special. Then, hopefully, but I doubt I can afford it, I will fly to New York in December to see Tan and Zhang team up again for a new Beijing Opera 'The First Emperor' at the Met. God bless DVD and cinema!

Found this today, Zhang Yimou's Chengdu. Quite nice for what it is.

I don't know whether Zhang Yimou actually made this. Quite possible. Though I thought he was from Xi'an. If anyone knows this video's origin, please tell.

Impression Lijiang (Zhang Yimou, 2006)

Ok, so they've moved the site, so it actually works now.

This is an outdoor performance director by Zhang, which is far and away the most amazing thing I have seen in my life.

Although there is a button entitled 'English' - that doesn't work just yet, so you'll have to manage with the chinese for now.

Found this. Quite nice for what it is.

I don't know whether Zhang Yimou actually made this. Quite possible. Though I thought he was from Xi'an. If anyone knows this video's origin, please tell.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:47 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:18 pm
Location: North Carolina
I absolutely loved Hero. It only got better as it went on, with its involving and fairly devastating end, even if the film didn't use Zhang Ziyi fully.

I was not nearly as enthralled by House of Flying Daggers, but it did get better toward the end: the images in the snow were fantastic yet simply composed, compared to the colorful flourishes of the first half, with the ornate costumes.

I haven't seen Curse of the Golden Flower yet, but while in China a year ago this month, I wanted to see it with my wife. She commented that she'd heard it wasn't very good, so we didn't watch it then. Don't know what that's worth, but I figure it's a smidgen of an example of Truffaut's comment.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 9:45 pm
Location: Portland, OR
dudlyarse wrote:
I absolutely loved Hero. It only got better as it went on, with its involving and fairly devastating end, even if the film didn't use Zhang Ziyi fully.

I was not nearly as enthralled by House of Flying Daggers, but it did get better toward the end: the images in the snow were fantastic yet simply composed, compared to the colorful flourishes of the first half, with the ornate costumes.

I haven't seen Curse of the Golden Flower yet, but while in China a year ago this month, I wanted to see it with my wife. She commented that she'd heard it wasn't very good, so we didn't watch it then. Don't know what that's worth, but I figure it's a smidgen of an example of Truffaut's comment.

I certainly hope those are not your only contact with Zhang's work.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 12:46 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:18 pm
Location: North Carolina
They are so far my only contact with Yimou's films. I'd love to see The Road Home before too long since I know it's a readily available Region 1 DVD. I'm in BFE-Movie-Land for international cinema of any sort, here in Northwestern North Carolina. I buy most of my movies used, from pawn shops or occasionally a movie store, where I got my copy of Hero actually. Here lately I've been getting Criterion DVDs off Ebay, tonight winning an auction for When A Woman Ascends The Stairs.

(I'll have to start a thread sometime asking people if they find Criterion DVDs in pawn shops, where I got my copy of Rules of the Game, the movie that has energized my desire to acquire Criterion DVDs. But that's for another time: back to Yimou.)

If there are art-chic movie theaters in the upper floors of some of the brick buildings around here where they have all-day showings of Yimou and Truffaut's films, I have not come into contact with them personally or know of them as of yet.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:01 am 
Happy-Fun Sunshine Minion of Intolerance
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:44 pm
Location: Confusing and open ended = high art.
2 of his best films are

Red Sorghum (1987)
Ju Dou (1990)

unfortunately, both are only available in truly appalling dvd transfers.

Its sad that film masterpieces like these languish on garbage quality dvds, whilst criterion and others spend money on and release many lesser films in lavish new transfers and special editions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
dudlyarse wrote:
back to Yimou.

Unless you are a personal acquaintance of the director -- and on a first name basis -- it is probably best to refer to him by his family name (Zhang) and not his personal name (Yimou). ;~}

No really good options for Ju Dou -- but the mainland Chinese DVD I got long ago at least had nice colors (even if it was pan and scan-esque).

Probably the most useful version of Red Sorghum at the moment is the Mei Ah (I believe) VCD set -- whish is dual subbed (Chinese and English -- not removable, obviously). There is also an unsubbed VCD set -- so avoid that one. As far as I can tell, this VCD release looks better than any of the miserable DVD releases to date.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:13 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:33 am
I have a Red Sorghum DVD of Japanese provenance (Imagica) that provides a pretty good image. Of course, there are no English subs . . .


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:51 am 
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Location: New England
Jack Phillips wrote:
I have a Red Sorghum DVD of Japanese provenance (Imagica) that provides a pretty good image. Of course, there are no English subs . . .

I left this out, though I had heard good things about this release, because it had no English subs.

Of course the most neglected film of ZY is Keep Cool. No English sub has ever been available -- so I treasure my Spanish-subbed video. I gather there is also a Japanese DVD of this as well.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:48 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc
What are your thoughts on "To Live"?

I saw it in college and it has still remained with me. One of my favorite films. I seem to always love movies that follow a family over several decades or generations (1900, Sibiriadi).

Any chance MGM will let Criterion do a release?

Also, this was my first only film by Yimou. I assume "Red Lantern" is the second/next stop?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
aox wrote:
What are your thoughts on "To Live"?

It was like being hit in the head by a two-by-four (in a good way). ;~}

Powerful film (and great performance by GE You).

Quote:
Any chance MGM will let Criterion do a release?

Except for the lack of extras, the current DVD is just fine. I doubt this will happen. I'd love for someone (anyone) to pick uo Keep Cool, however.

Quote:
Also, this was my first only film by Yimou. I assume "Red Lantern" is the second/next stop?

Personal name "Yimou", family name "Zhang." ;~}

Red Lantern is fine -- or Qiu JU (one of of my top favorites) -- or (for something different) Not One Less (my own introduction to ZY).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
Michael Kerpan wrote:
Quote:
I assume "Red Lantern" is the second/next stop?

Red Lantern is fine -- or Qiu JU (one of of my top favorites) -- or (for something different) Not One Less (my own introduction to ZY).

Well for what it's worth Raise The Red Lantern is my mother's favourite 'subtitled' film and she still talks about it twelve years later, despite having no interest in seeing the more recently acclaimed Hero/House of Flying Daggers by the director! I guess because she likes tragic melodramas (I tried steering her towards Farewell, My Concubine for another film in a similar vein but it sadly never happened) If nothing else it might suggest the more crowd pleasing quality of that film that, much like the recent martial arts epics and of course the Beijing Olympic opening ceremony, provide pretty orientalism that might be more palatable to a foreign audience along with a mild critique of Chinese society. Unfortunately I have yet to see Zhang's more 'social realist' films which could provide an interesting balance to the opulence of his more famous works.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:27 am 
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There is an interview The Way Art Works with Zhang in Southern Weekend. Parts of it are translated into English here. This page also links to the full interview (in Chinese).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:16 pm
Location: Arlington, VA
colinr0380 wrote:
Well for what it's worth Raise The Red Lantern is my mother's favourite 'subtitled' film and she still talks about it twelve years later, despite having no interest in seeing the more recently acclaimed Hero/House of Flying Daggers by the director!

You may want to consider suggesting Not One Less. It's somewhat slow and sentimental but very moving and will probably bring a tear or two to your mother's eyes.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:49 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:03 am
Location: LA CA
Red Sorghum: r2uk dvd announced for 1/26/09.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:37 pm 
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Can anyone tell me something about the 2007 DVD release of To Live as opposed to the 2003 one?

Just watched it last week, and it impressed the hell out of me, but I can't find anything about the quality of the DVD releases.

thanks


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:23 pm 
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myrnaloyisdope wrote:
Can anyone tell me something about the 2007 DVD release of To Live as opposed to the 2003 one?

I think these are pretty much the same. I have the older release, and it is quite decent.


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 Post subject: Re: Zhang Yimou
PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:59 pm 
Happy-Fun Sunshine Minion of Intolerance
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:44 pm
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has anyone seen the recent Ju Dou UK release, is it the same poor quality as the others?


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 Post subject: Re: Zhang Yimou
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:37 pm 
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godardslave wrote:
has anyone seen the recent Ju Dou UK release, is it the same poor quality as the others?

According to the amazon.co.uk reviews you can skip this DVD (besides it's already oop).
Same goes, picture quality wise, for the Red Sorghum 2009 release. Unfuckingbelievable that there are still not even halfway decent DVDs available anywhere!


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 Post subject: Re: Zhang Yimou
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:47 pm 
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is this a bad time to ask if we'll see anything of his remastered for blu-ray anytime soon? Specifically To Live?


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 Post subject: Re: Zhang Yimou
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:59 pm 
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Location: New England
sir karl wrote:
Same goes, picture quality wise, for the Red Sorghum 2009 release. Unfuckingbelievable that there are still not even halfway decent DVDs available anywhere!

The subbed Mei Ah VCD of Red Sorghum looks pretty good for a VCD -- and probably a lot better than the rotten DVDs released in the West. Hard-subbed in Chinese and English, and letterboxed. It can serve as a decent placeholder (for those of us still with old analog TVs, at least)..

Warning -- there is also an unsubbed Mei Ah release of this film -- so order carefully.


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 Post subject: Re: Zhang Yimou
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:13 am
Location: Rotterdam
I have a Dutch release of Red Sorghum ('Het Rode Korenveld') and in my memory (it's been a while since I've seen it) it looked quite nice.

According to the site of the publisher it only has Dutch and French subtitles, but I'll have to check when I'm home to make sure.

[edit] I've checked it, only Dutch and French subtitles [/edit]


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 Post subject: Re: Zhang Yimou
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:00 pm 
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UK Blu-Ray release of "Hero" in September.


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 Post subject: Re: Zhang Yimou
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:09 pm 
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I'm interested in reading thoughts on Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles. I have yet to see any of Zhang's films, but this is showing on my campus (for free!) and wanted to know if this is a good launching-off point or I should seek out his earlier films first.


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 Post subject: Re: Zhang Yimou
PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:04 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:31 pm
I have not seen "Riding a thousand miles" and maybe I will never see it, but: I doubt that
there's a good starting point at all ... Zhang made a lot of very different movies, starting with arthouse classics like "Red sorghum" and "Judou" (maybe my favourite, but you may counter that it is arty-farty), carrying on with some in some way more social realistic films dealing with current themes like "Story of Qui Ju" and ending with those global blockbusters (Hero, House, Golden Flower).
I'd go there because it's for free and on the big screen, isnt it? If you like the movie you may want to watch the rural drama "Story of Qui Ju" or the historical drama "To Live " as well, but make sure not to miss Zhangke Jia's "Unknown Pleasures" and "Still Life".
If you dislike it, you still can give him another chance and watch one of the older or newer movies.
That is, Zhang itself is a not a bad starting point if you want to delve into Chinese cinema which might be quite rewarding because you will inevitably stumble across (at least in the west) relatively nameless but great movies.


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