The Imagery of Zhang Yimou’s Films of Social Criticism and his Humanism

By Sze Man Hung and Lien-yi Chang.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Zhang Yimou is considered as one of the greatest, if not the greatest film director of the People’s Republic of China. Although he is considered recently to be a pro-government director, he has made a considerable number of films that criticize the Communist Chinese government in the past and present. As films in China have always been seriously censored, and even banned when considered “unduly critical”, directors have to make use of various “skills” and “means” of imagery to make their socio-political criticisms latent but conceivable and effective. The socially critical films of Zhang manifest a development in imagery that is becoming more and more substantial and aesthetically impressive. This article will investigate a series of Zhang’s relevant films to trace the development of his “skills” and “means” of imagery in exercising his criticism of the social and political reality of communist China, so as to formulate for the public a clear understanding of his film art and humanism.

Keywords: Zhang Yimou, Films of Social Criticism, Imagery, Communist Chinese Government

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.105-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 824.346KB).

Dr. Sze Man Hung

Professor, Department and Graduate School of Media Arts, College of Creative Media, Kushan University of Technology, Tainan, Taiwan

A Hong Kong citizen, recieved Ph.D in the Free University of Berlin, work experience included university lecturer in Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Lingnan University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, CEO of the Hong Liberal Party and Programme Host/consultant of the Now Cable TV News Channel. Research and publications centred on film theory and aesthetics, cultural studies. Researches were done commissioned by the Hong Kong Government on pornography and gambling habits.

Lien-yi Chang

Kushan University, Tainan, Taiwan

Chang, Lien-yi is a graduate student of the Graduate School of Media Arts, Kushan University. She has co-authored also a paper with Stephen Sze on “Oriental Woman Contrasting Occidental Man – Two Cinematic Interpretations of the Text “Letter from and Unknown Woman/ Brief einer Unbekannten””. She is now working on her master thesis on the famous Chinese actress and directress Sylvia Chang.