Yimou began his career by making films thate looked at the past, present, and the future through a futuristic eye. He emphasized a lot on the resilience, even the stubbornness, of Chinese people in the face of hardships and adversities. The films dared to deconstruct China and reform the culture. His earlier films appear to be influenced a lot by his background and the life struggle. However, it is quite surprising to observe that Yimou has changed his track completely to make some morality fables and period martial art movies. The message from these movies also was quite confusing, considering his previous reputation as a dissident filmmaker (Salazar).
Zhang Yimou was born in 1952 in the Xi'an province of China. He grew up in socialist China where class struggle dominated life and literature. His father and brother were associated with the Kuomintang (Nationalist party). So, as a child, Yimou suffered stigmatization and ridicules. The Cultural Revolution of 1966 forced him to quit studying and start working as a farm hand and laborer. Meanwhile, Yimou developed interest in painting and amateur still photography. He used his portfolio of photographs to gain admission to the cinematography department of the Beijing Film Academy in 1978. ...Show more