Chen Kaige

In 1993 Chen Kaige, 陈凯歌, won the first Palme D’Or for a Chinese language film at the Cannes Film Festival for his epic Farewell, My Concubine.

The film went on to gather critical praise, an Academy Award Nomination and was a box office success throughout the world.

Prior to the Chinese Cultural Revolution of 1966, Chen, the son of a respected film director, attended a school for privileged children in Beijing. When the revolution took hold, Chen, along with many thousands of his middle class contemporaries, was sent to the countryside for re-education and to work on the land; in his case clearing trees in the south of the country. From there he was inducted into the regional army and served five years before returning to Beijing.

In 1978 Chen was among the first intake of students at the newly reopened Beijing Film Academy. These talented students became known as the Fifth Generation Directors and included director Zhang Yimou, who originally collaborated with Chen as his cinematographer. As students, the Fifth Generation was influenced by Western European directors rather than Hollywood movies.

Yellow Earth, Chen Kaige’s debut film, was hailed as the audacious beginning to a new era of Chinese theatre, and was awarded prizes in festivals from London to Hawaii. His following films The Big Parade, King of Children and Life on a String, were interspersed by sojourn at the American University of Columbia. Following the international success of Farewell, My Concubine, Kaige directed Temptress Moon (1996), The Emperor and the Assassin (1999) and Together (2002).

Chinese director Chen Kaige
Chinese director Chen Kaige

Chen Kaige Filmography

Poster for the movie "The Battle at Lake Changjin"

The Battle at Lake Changjin

In the winter of 1950, in the icy and snowy area of Changjin Lake, a bloody battle between the United States and China was about to begin. China and the United States respectively sent the most elite troop troops to fight-the 9th Corps of the Chinese People’s Volunteers, the 1st US Marine Division, and the 7th Infantry Division.

My People, My Country

My People, My Country (我和我的祖国) is a 2019 Chinese seven-part anthology drama film, consisting of seven segments directed by seven directors, Chen Kaige, Zhang Yibai, Guan Hu, Xue Xiaolu, Xu Zheng, Ning Hao, and Wen Muye.It stars many of China’s top actors, many in supporting roles and cameos. My People, My Country is produced jointly by Huaxia Film Distribution, Polybona Films and Alibaba Pictures. The film was released in China on September 30, 2019, to … Read more

The Legend of the Demon Cat

During the Late Tang Dynasty, a manor is invaded by a demon cat and a sense of unrest befalls the capital of Changan. A poet is charged with investigating the case and meets up with a monk. The two work together and pull apart the thread of clues to reveal a history of truths leading to the events.

Monk Comes Down The Mountain

When a young monk is forced to leave his impoverished monastery, he relies on his extraordinary martial arts skills to survive in the outside world. In search of a mentor, he crosses paths with a Kung Fu master who is in possession of the Book of Secrets, which reveals the lost art of the deadly Ape Strike Kung Fu technique. The rare book is coveted by a sinister father and son who will go to … Read more

Farewell My Concubine

Abandoned by his prostitute mother in 1920, Douzi was raised by a theater troupe. There he meets Shitou and over the following years the two develop an act entitled, “Farewell My Concubine,” that brings them fame and fortune. When Shitou marries Juxian, Doutzi becomes jealous, the beginnings of the acting duo’s explosive breakup and tragic fall take root.

Yellow Earth

Yellow earth focuses on the story of a Communist soldier who is sent to the countryside to collect folk songs for the Communist Revolution. There he stays with a peasant family and learns that the happy songs he was sent to collect do not exist; the songs he finds are about hardship and suffering. He returns to the Army, but promises to come back for the young girl, Cuiqiao, who has been spellbound by his … Read more

Caught In The Web

The story of three women whose worlds collide, Caught in the Web is a social commentary about the ‘sound bite’ society we are becoming, where perception becomes reality and judgments based on limited facts quickly spread, without regard for the truth or the damage they could cause.

Sacrifice

For generations the Zhao family has wielded power, until their mortal enemy TU’AN GU slaughters the entire clan, determined to wipe out their influence forever. But one Zhao baby survives hidden by CHENG YING the doctor who delivered him. When Tu’an Gu learns of the baby’s escape he seizes every infant in the city, vowing to kill them all unless the Zhao baby is surrendered. As the tyrant’s soldiers arrive at Cheng Ying’s home the … Read more

King of the Children

King of the Children is a 1987 drama film directed by Chen Kaige and starring Chen Shaohua. The film was based on a novella of the same name by Ah Cheng. The film was entered into the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.

Life on a String

Two blind men pursue ephemeral and unlikely hopes. One is an aged master, a wandering troubador venerated as a saint, in physical decline, waiting to break his 1,000th banjo string, an event his own master promised years before would bring him sight. The other is his apprentice, Shidou, who longs for a woman’s love and is enchanted with the radiant and spirited Lanxiu. The two men are encamped outside Lanxiu’s village, the saint using his … Read more

Together

When a violin prodigy Xiaochun and his father head to Beijing seeking fame and fortune, they soon discover a fierce world of cutthroat ambition. But when Xiaochun is “adopted” by a famous music tutor, success finally seems within reach – until a shocking discovery begins to unravel his entire world, and the boy must make the most difficult choice of his life. Can he achieve the fame his father had always hoped for without losing … Read more

Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet

Ten Minutes Older is a 2002 film project consisting of two compilation feature films entitled The Trumpet and The Cello. The project was conceived by the producer Nicolas McClintock as a reflection on the theme of time at the turn of the Millennium. Fifteen celebrated film-makers were invited to create their own vision of what time means in ten minutes of film.

The Emperor and the Assassin

In pre-unified China, the King of Qin sends his concubine to a rival kingdom to produce an assassin for a political plot, but as the king’s cruelty mounts she finds her loyalty faltering.