Shortly after she is forced to marry a distiller, 18-year-old Jiur is widowed. Together with the great love of her life, sedan-chair carrier Yu, the young woman decides to modernise her deceased husband’s distillery. A happy but short life begins – until the Japanese invade China and decide to construct a road through Jiur’s cornfield.
After the novel of the same title by Mo Yan. Zhang Yimou’s debut as a director of the film that made a star of actress Gong Li was awarded the Golden Bear at the 1988 Berlin Film Festival. –Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Zhang Yimou is one of the best-known directors of the Chinese Fifth Generation and one of the most influential and widely respected filmmakers working today. Zhang was born in 1950, in the city of Xi’an in Shaanxi Province, to a future in Communist China that seemed unpromising; his father was an officer in Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang Army and one of his brothers was accused of being a spy, while another fled to Taiwan. During the 1950s, his family’s background was suspect and during the convulsive tumult of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, it was criminal. Zhang was pulled out of high school and sent to toil with the peasants. Later, he transferred to a textile factory. While working there, Zhang reportedly sold his own blood to buy his first camera.
In 1978, at the age of 27, Zhang passed the entrance exam for the Beijing Film Academy but was rejected on account of his age. After an appeal to the Ministry of Culture, however, he was enrolled in the B.F.A.‘s class of 1982… read more
A look back at the posters for departing festival director Richard Peña’s very first NYFF.