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Zhang Yimou (born 2 April 1950) is a Chinese film director, producer, writer and actor, and former cinematographer.

Ever since his directorial debut, ‘Red Sorghum’ (1987) won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival, Zhang Yimou has established his reputation as one of the most talented and influential directors today.

Zhang Yimou was born in China in 1950 and studied cinematography at the Beijing Film Academy. He became a leading member of China’s Fifth Generation Filmmakers, the first group to graduate following the turbulent Cultural Revolution. He is an accomplished actor, starring in ‘Red Sorghum’ as well as earning the Best Actor Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival for his performance in ‘Old Well’ (1986). Zhang Yimou is also a skilled cinematographer, with credits including ‘Yellow Earth’ (1984), ‘Old Well’ (1986), and ‘The Big Parade’ (1986).

Zhang Yimou has received multiple honours as a director. He is the first Chinese filmmaker to receive Motion Picture Academy recognition, being nominated for Academy Awardsâ in the Best Foreign Film category for ‘Ju Dou’ in 1990, ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ in 1991, and ‘HERO’ in 2003. He has earned numerous top honors, including the Silver Lion at the 44th Venice International Film Festival for ‘Raise the Red Lantern’ (1991), the Golden Lion Award at the 45th Venice International Film Festival for ‘The Story of Qiu Ju’ (1992), the Grand Jury Prize at the 47th Cannes International Film Festival for ‘To Live’ (1994), the Golden Lion Award at the 52nd Venice International Film Festival for ‘Not One Less’ (1999), the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival for ‘The Road Home’ (1999) and the Alfred Bauer Award for ‘HERO’ (2003).

‘HERO’ went on to sweep the board at the 22nd Hong Kong Film Awards, winning awards for Best Action Choreography, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Music, Best Sound and Best Visual Effects.

He is counted amongst the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers, having made his directorial debut in 1987 with Red Sorghum.

Zhang has won numerous awards and recognitions, with Best Foreign Film nominations for Ju Dou in 1990, Raise the Red Lantern in 1991, and Hero in 2003, Silver Lion and Golden Lion prizes at the Venice Film Festival, Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 1993, he was a member of the jury at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival. Zhang directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, which received considerable international acclaim.
One of Zhang’s recurrent themes is the resilience of Chinese people in the face of hardship and adversity, a theme which has been explored in such films as To Live (1994) and Not One Less (1999). His films are particularly noted for their rich use of colour, as can be seen in some of his early films, like Raise the Red Lantern, and in his wuxia films like Hero and House of Flying Daggers. His highest budgeted film to date is the 2016 monster film titled The Great Wall, set in Imperial China and starring Matt Damon.

Zhang Yimou
Zhang Yimou (left) in 2010 at the Busan International Film Festival premiere ceremony

Zhang Yimou filmography


Zhang Yimou

Poster for the movie "One Second"

One Second

A story about a movie fan in a remote farmland who strikes a relationship with a homeless female vagabond. One Second by Zhang Yimou (2019)...
Poster for the movie "Shadow"


The movie was presented at the Shanghai Film Festival 2017. Images of the movie Shado by Zhang YimouMore info: Hollywood Reporter , My Drama List
Poster for the movie "The Great Wall"

The Great Wall

The Great Wall (Chinese: 长城) is a 2016 monster film directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Matt Damon, who plays a European mercenary in...
Poster for the movie "Coming Home"

Coming Home

Poster for the movie "The Flowers of War"

The Flowers of War

A Westerner finds refuge with a group of women in a church during Japan's rape of Nanking in 1937. Posing as a priest, he attempts...
Poster for the movie "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles"

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles is a 2005 Chinese / Japanese drama film directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Ken Takakura. It premiered...
Poster for the movie "The Road Home"

The Road Home

Prompted by the death of his father and the grief of his mother, a man recalls the story of how they met in flashback. The...
Poster for the movie "Not One Less"

Not One Less

Teacher Gao loves the students in his poor village and is devoted to educating them in the hope of their greater futures. When he is...
Poster for the movie "Keep Cool"

Keep Cool

Poster for the movie "Under the Hawthorn Tree"

Under the Hawthorn Tree

The daughter of a right-winger, schoolgirl Jing Qiu (Zhou Dong-Yu) is sent to the countryside for reeducation, and tasked to help write a textbook. Under...
Poster for the movie "To Live"

To Live

Fugui and Jiazhen endure tumultuous events in China as their personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry. To Live, also titled Lifetimes in some...
Poster for the movie "Curse of the Golden Flower"

Curse of the Golden Flower

During China's Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised...
Poster for the movie "Red Sorghum"

Red Sorghum

Set in a rural village in Shandong, the film tells the story of Grandma Jiu’er, her red sorghum winery and Grandpa told through the...
Poster for the movie "Raise the Red Lantern"

Raise the Red Lantern

China in the 1920's. After her father's death, 19 year old Songlian is forced to marry the much older lord of a powerful family. Raise...
Poster for the movie "Ju Dou"

Ju Dou

A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband's nephew but...
Poster for the movie "House of Flying Daggers"

House of Flying Daggers

At its height, the Tang Dynasty was one of the most enlightened empires in Chinese history. But in 859AD, the Dynasty is in decline. The...
Poster for the movie "Happy Times"

Happy Times

Zhao is an old laid-off worker who's dreaming of getting married. After trying unsuccessful proposals, he finally pair off with a gargantuan divorcée with...
Poster for the movie "Hero"


One man defeated three assassins who sought to murder the most powerful warlord in pre-unified China. Hero is a 2002 Chinese wuxia film directed by...

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