120 Great Directors: Zhang Yimou

“The more independent an artist is, the more special or unique his or her work is.”


What Got This Director Here?
: His 90s work.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Raise the Red Lantern.

What Did I Watch: Hero.

Where Does He Fit: Hero justifies its existence alone by the fight between Maggie Cheung and Zhang Yimou, a feat out of the silent era and with the best use of color in a film that is already blowing out our irises with it. It’s a shame the politics of this are so rancid, because this is elemental filmmaking, a thin story that nevertheless devastates as a melodrama and is tremendously satisfying in the way of the best action films. All you need are some of the most soulful actors on the planet to make a great piece of wuxia, plus impeccable direction from someone who knows his choreography better than John Woo.

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Most Valuable Asset: Color.
Most Excited For: Ju Dou.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Yes.

Coming Up Next: Hal Ashby, the quirkiest auteur of the 70s.

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