Zhang Yimou


Zhang Yimou (张艺谋; November 1951) is a Chinese film director, producer, writer and actor, and former cinematographer. He is part of the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers, having made his directorial debut with Red Sorghum (1988), which began a long collaboration with actress Gong Li.

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 Lionand 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 The Great Wall, set in Imperial China and starring Matt Damon.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)


  • One and Eight (1983) – by Zhang Junzhao
  • Yellow Earth (1984) – directed by Chen Kaige
  • The Big Parade (1986) – directed by Chen Kaige
  • The Old Well (1987) – directed by Wu Tianming – co-cinematographer – also actor


  • Red Sorghum (1988)
  • Codename Cougar (1989) – co-directed with Yang Fengliang
  • Ju Dou (1990) – co-directed with Yang Fengliang
  • Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
  • The Story of Qiu Ju (1992)
  • To Live (1994)
  • Shanghai Triad (1995)
  • Lumière and Company (1995) – directed with Merzak Allouache, Gabriel Axel, Vicente Aranda, Theo Angelopoulos, Bigas Luna, John Boorman, Youssef Chahine, Alain Corneau, Costa-Gavras, Raymond Depardon, Francis Girod, Peter Greenaway, Lasse Hallström, Michael Haneke, Hugh Hudson, Gaston Kaboré, Abbas Kiarostami, Cédric Klapisch, Andrei Konchalovsky, Patrice Leconte, Spike Lee, Claude Lelouch, David Lynch, Merchant Ivory, Claude Miller, Sarah Moon, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Arthur Penn, Lucian Pintilie, Jacques Rivette, Helma Sanders-Brahms, Jerry Schatzberg, Nadine Trintignant, Fernando Trueba, Liv Ullmann, Yoshishige Yoshida, Jaco Van Dormael, Régis Wargnier, & Wim Wenders – anthology
  • Keep Cool (1997)
  • Not One Less (1999)
  • The Road Home (1999)
  • Happy Times (2000)
  • Hero (2002)*
  • House of Flying Daggers (2004)
  • Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005)
  • Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)
  • To Each His Cinema (2007) – directed with Raymond Depardon, Takashi Kitano, Andrei Konchalovsky, Nanni Moretti, Joel & Ethan Coen, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Atom Egoyan, Aki Kaurismäki, Yousef Chahine, Tsai Ming-liang, Lars von Trier, Raoul Ruiz, Claude Lelouch, Gus Van Sant, Roman Polanski, Michael Cimino, David Cronenberg, Wong Kar-wai, Abbas Kiarostami, Billie August, Elia Suleiman, Manoel de Oliveira, Walter Salles, Wim Wenders, Chen Kaige, Ken Loach, & David Lynch – anthology
  • A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009)
  • Under the Hawthorn Tree (2010)
  • The Flowers of War (2011)
  • Coming Home (2014)
  • The Great Wall (2016)*
  • Shadow (2018)
  • One Second (2020)
  • Cliff Walkers (2021)
  • Sniper (2022) – co-directed with Zhang Mo
  • Full River Red (2023)
  • Under the Light (202-)