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Zhang Yimou: Essential Education

MUBI Special

The ever dextrous mastery of Zhang Yimou has brought us classics ranging from Wuxia epics (Hero) to intimate character studies amidst patriarchy (Raise the Red Lantern). With this series we pay tribute to the wonderfully underrated films to be found in the middle, made whilst Zhang transitioned from an enemy of the state towards a state endorsed commercial cinema. These films may perhaps be less subversive than their predecessors, yet remain incisively complicated by the experience of life in China and imbued with his indelibly intimate style.

The Road Home

Zhang Yimou China, 1999

Continuing with the themes of education & family present in Not One Less (released the same year!), Zhang Yimou offers a romanticism both complicated and affectionate in this study of the role of love in rural working class life. An essential transitional work despite compromise by state censors.

Not One Less

Zhang Yimou China, 1999

We’re honored to offer a Zhang Yimou double bill—a masterful talent from China’s fifth generation. Working exclusively with unprofessionals from a scenario culled from life itself, Not One Less taps into the many hardships of working class life in modern China with rare sincerity and insight.

Life is too short for bad films

Every day we hand-pick a beautiful new film and you have a whole month to watch it, so there’s always 30 perfectly curated films to discover.