Friday, October 3, 2008

Zhu Wen (director)

Zhu Wen is a Chinese short story writer turned director.

Early life and writing

Zhu Wen was born in 1967 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province. He attended Southeast University in Nanjing, and graduated with a degree in electric power. After working in a state-owned thermal power plant for five years, he quit his job in 1994 to become a freelance writer.

His first published short story, ''I Love Dollars'', was denounced by some critics as the "shameless and indecent novel of a hooligan."

In 1998, he instigated and became identified with the ''Rupture'' movement to voice dissatisfaction with the literary establishment. He sent questionnaires to about 70 writers, about 55 of which responded. The responses were sarcastic and mostly expressed discontent, and later spawned publications that nurtured more independence among writers.

In an introduction to Zhu Wen's short stories, the translator Julia Lovell characterized his 'trademark narrative style' as "a loosely punctuated, first-person voice in which speech, both direct and indirect, run on within sentences of descriptive prose, designed to capture the unceremonious, free-flowing rhythms of action and dialogue in contemporary China."

As a writer, he was labeled as part of a 'newly-born generation' movement.

He began writing short stories and novellas in 1991.
He has written the following novellas:
* ''I Love Dollars''《我爱美元》
* ''A Boat Crossing''《三生修得同舟渡》
* ''A Hospital Night'' 《幸亏这些年有了一点钱》
* ''Wheels'' 《把穷人统统打昏》
* ''Ah, Xiao Xie''《小谢啊小谢》

His only novel-length work is ''What is Garbage, What is Love''. .

A selection of his short stories were translated by Julia Lovell and published by Columbia University Press in January 2007.

Directorial career

Zhu decided to direct a movie in 2000. He has said that most of the directors he admires come from Continental Europe and Russia, including Andrei Tarkovsky.

He is considered a member of the Sixth Generation of Chinese film makers. His first movie was '''', about a policeman and prostitute's friendship in Beidaihe. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the 58th Venice Film Festival. It cost about 300,000RMB to produce.

His second film, ''South of the Clouds'' , was awarded the NETPAC Prize at the Berlin Film Festival and won 'Asia's Best New Director Prize' at the Shanghai International Film Festival, sharing the prize and half of the 150,000RMB prize with a Thai director.
He explained the title referred to desires that cannot be fulfilled.
It cost about 100,000RMB to produce.

Zhu has also been highly critical of some of the , saying of Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, "They're successful directors, but they're not good directors."




Zhu Shilin

Zhu Shilin . was a film director, born in Taicang, Jiangsu, China. Zhu began his career in the thriving film industry of Shanghai, directing actresses like Ruan Lingyu with the Lianhua Film Company. After the war, Zhu moved to Hong Kong, where he founded the Longma Film Company along with fellow Shanghai emigrant Fei Mu.

Between 1930 and 1964 he directed 80 films. Two of his films, ''Sorrows of the Forbidden City'' and '''' were ranked in the .

Zheng Junli

Zheng Junli was a Chinese actor and director born in Shanghai and who rose to prominence in the golden age of .


Early years

Zheng was born into an impoverished family, often harassed by creditors. At early ages, he showed great interest in reading and art performing. He left junior high at second grade and entered "Nanguo Art School" led by Tian Han and studied play acting.

During the 1930s, Zheng was an actor under contract with Lianhua Film Company. While with Lianhua, he played a number of roles, notably as the love-interest Yu Haichou in the film ''New Women'' opposite Ruan Lingyu.

From Sino-Japanese War to Establishment of PRC

After the Zheng began to focus his efforts on directing, most notably with the film ''The Spring River Flows East'' and his anti- polemic ''Crows and Sparrows''. In 1957, the latter was awarded Excellent Movie Award first-class by Minister of Culture of PRC.

PRC period

Zheng welcomed the establishment of the new government of CPC. As a left-wing director, he was at first one of the beneficiaries. He moved his family from dilapidated dormitory in Kunlun Studio to the best residential area in Shanghai, opposite to the house of Song Qingling.

On 2nd meeting of CPC 7th national congress, Mao Zedong mentioned some issues of CPC cadres after entering the cities. Zheng immediately followed the directive and made the movie "The Married Couple" , starring Zhao Dan and Jiang Tianliu. It told a story that a CPC cadre ditched his original wife in village in order to marry a girl in the city, showing his failure to resist the temptation of "sugar-coated bullet". This movie was banned even before the public release.

Zheng was a member of Art Commission of Shanghai Film Studio, and used to support the making of "The Life of Wu Xun" . This movie was severely excoriated by CPC authority and Zheng felt guilty of that. His former production, "The Married Couple", was also criticized at this time, which exerted great pressure on the director.

In order to criticize "The Life of Wu Xun", Jiang Qing and her gang went to Shandong to do research. They found another figure, Song Jingshi, a peasant uprising leader of "Black Flag Army" in history. They thus erected Song and Black Flag Army as revolutionary examples to further denounce Wu Xun. They borrowed Zheng Junli for a long time to study this movie script. However, a dilemma was encountered by Zheng and , another screenplay writer. In the real history, Song Jingshi eventually surrendered to Qing Dynasty, but for political purpose, Song must be depicted as a determined revolutionist. A compromise was finally reached as Song's surrendering was designed as a tactic. Due to the false position of "The Life of Wu Xun", Shanghai Film Studio hoped new production "Song Jingshi" would redeem its political mistakes. The then vice director of movie bureau, Cui Wei, acted as Song Jingshi himself. Other famed actors and actresses were all willing to perform minor supporting roles. But because of the fact that Song surrendered to Qing authority, the movie was only allowed to be released for a short period after four-five years after its completion. In the end, this film of "atonement" didn't pass the censorship and was banned.

After continuous lack of success, Zheng's next two on Nie Er and Lin Zexu won wide acclaims, and somehow alleviated his feeling of guilty.

Zheng was severely persecuted in Cultural Revolution, and died in prison in 1969.

He was a delegate to Shanghai municipal People's Congress, a member of 3rd and 4th CPPCC, a councilman of China Film Association, China Playwrights Association and Shanghai Film Association.


Zheng devoted to translating and authoring works on films and plays. So far his published works include ''The Birth of a Role'' and ''Voice-over'' , among others.

He used to think his performance was rigid and not satisfactory. Thus he made great efforts to study performing theories. He first tried to translate ''Acting: The First Six Lessons'' authored by Richard Boleslavsky. Since he hadn't completed his junior high study, his English was poor. Nevertheless he was very diligent. He did the translation relying on the English dictionary, and then double-checked the original book using a Russian-English dictionary and corrected any mistakes. After that, his English was greatly improved. He was also the first one who introduced the performing system of Constantin Stanislavski into China. Stanislavski's works were all written in Russian. Zheng thus found a English-Russian & Russian-English dictionary and translated Russian to Chinese through English, which was indeed a formidable job. His translation of ''An Actor Prepares'' of Stanislavski, co-authored by Zhang Min, was the first systematic work on art performing in plays in China.

Zheng also authored the book ''Art History of World's Movies''. At the time when no one in China dared to break ideological shackle and compare films of western world with ones of Soviet Union's, it was a breakthrough by Zheng to write a chronicle of world films from a universal perspective.

Selected filmography

As director

* ''The Spring River Flows East''
* ''Crows and Sparrows''
* ''The Married Couple''
* ''Song Jingshi''
* ''''
* ''''
* ''Spring Comes to the Withered Tree''

As actor

* ''''
* ''The Big Road'' (
* ''New Women'' - Yu Haichou
* ''Song of China''
* ''Guo Feng'' - Chen Zuo

Zhao Dan

Zhao Dan was a actor popular in the golden age of .


Born as Zhao Feng'ao in Yangzhou in Jiangsu province, Zhao first became famous working in the Mingxing Film Company in the 1930s including playing opposite Zhou Xuan in '''' . After the , Zhao began a creative relationship with director Zheng Junli, with films such as the 1948 anti-Kuomintang drama-comedy, ''Crows and Sparrows''.

Zhao remained on the mainland following the victory in 1949 and continued to make films throughout the 1950s and 1960s notably in biographical films playing historical figures of Nie Er, Lin Zexu and Li Shizhen.

He joined Communist Party of China in 1957. During Cultural Revolution, he was persecuted and imprisoned for 5 years. He died of pancreas cancer in Beijing in 1980.

He was married to Ye Luqian in 1936. When he was arrested by Sheng Shicai in Xinjiang in 1939, it was rumored he had been dead. Thus Ye was married to playwright Du Xuan. After the war, he was released and returned to Shanghai. He later was married to Huang Zongying.

Selected filmography

As actor

As director

Zhao Benshan

Zhao Benshan is a skit and sitcom actor, and recently turned director. Having initially gained immense popularity from performances on the CCTV New Year's Gala, Zhao is now a household-name comedy actor on Mainland China.

Born in Shizui Cottage in Lianhua County in Tieling, Liaoning, in a peasant family, he was orphaned when he was only 6. Apprenticed to his uncle, he learned many local traditional performance arts, including Er hu, Er Ren Zhuan etc.

He gained some popularity in local areas, which caught attention of Jiang Kun, a famous Chinese Xiangsheng artist, who recommend him to the 1987 CCTV New Year's Gala, a TV program broadcast all around China. After his first appearance, he had appeared in each Gala show every year. Some of his highlights included "Yesterday, today and Tomorrow", and "Fixing up the house".

Since the turn of the century, Zhao had also turned attention towards acting and directing sitcoms, appearing as the main character in Liu Laogen and Ma Dashuai, and their sequels. Some of his associates in acting are Gao Xiumin Song Dan Dan and Fan Wei. In 2007 Zhao went on a tour in the United States, making a stop in New York City. After his return, he attended the 2007 National People's Congress as a delegate from Liaoning.


* '''' - Poet reader
* ''The Emperor and the Assassin'' - Gao Jianli
* ''Happy Times'' - Zhao
* ''Getting Home''
* ''Liu Laogen'' - Title character
* ''Ma DaShuai'' - Title character

Zhang Yibai

Zhang Yibai is a Chinese film director. Zhang began his career in television and music videos before directing his debut, ''Spring Subway'' in 2002.

Zhang, like many other modern Chinese directors, has focused primarily on life in modern Chinese cities. ''Spring Subway'', for example, follows its protagonist as he wanders through Beijing's system, while the mystery-thriller ''Curiosity Killed the Cat'' follows its characters through the central China boomtown of Chongqing .

Zhang's two most recent films, 2007's ''The Longest Night in Shanghai'' and 2008's ''Lost, Indulgence'' have seen the director's exposure and successes extending increasingly overseas. ''Longest Night'', starring Zhao Wei, constitutes one of the first China-Japan coproductions, while ''Lost'' was selected to premiere at New York City's Tribeca Film Festival in 2008.


Zhang Yang (director)

Zhang Yang is a Chinese film director, screenwriter, and occasional actor. He is the son of Zhang Huaxun, who is also a Chinese film director.

Zhang Yang uses a realistic style, and achieved great recognition for his 1999 independent production '''' , which was successful at Chinese box offices as well as international film festivals. This was followed in 2001 by ''Zuotian'' . The actors in this unusual story about a real actor, Jia Hongsheng, and his struggle with drug addiction are Jia himself, Jia's parents, fellow inmates in a mental institution, the director, Zhang, and others playing themselves. The relationship between parents and their grown children is as central to this film as it was in ''Shower''.

Zhang grew up in Beijing, studied until 1988 at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong, from which he graduated with a degree in Chinese literature, and then went to the Central Academy of Drama , graduating in 1992.


As director

As actor