Monday, April 06, 2009
Zhang Yimou, director of the classic Not One Less
One of Zhang's recurrent themes is a celebration of the resilience, even the stubbornness, of Chinese people in the face of hardships and adversities, a theme which has occurred from To Live (1994) through to Not One Less (1999). His works are particularly noted for their usage of colour, as can be seen in his early trilogy (like Raise the Red Lantern) or in his wuxia films such as Hero and House of Flying Daggers.
Boasting an impressive lineup of Asian stars, including Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Zhang Ziyi, and Donnie Yen, Hero introduced a fictional tale revolving around Ying Zheng, the king of the State of Qin (later the first Emperor of China) and his would-be assassins. The film became a huge international hit and, with the intervention of American director Quentin Tarantino, was released in North America two years after its Chinese release after being shelved by American distributor Miramax Films. Hero became one of the few foreign-language films to debut at #1 at the U.S. box office, and was one of the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2003 Academy Awards.