Source: China State Council Information Office 3
China’s best-known director Zhang Yimou has three films ready to go and one film in the making, making him one of the most hard-working, efficient and prolific filmmakers in China.
His new film, “One Second,” is set for release on Nov. 27, its distributors announced on Wednesday. Set in the mid-1970s in northwestern China, the movie is a tribute to the era of cine film. It tells the story of a movie fan on a remote farm and a homeless female drifter. The leading roles are played by Zhang Yi and Liu Haocun, a young actress (born in 2000) discovered by Zhang Yimou.
Zhang has also called upon many older colleagues with experience of the era of motion picture film.
Zhang, 70, dedicated “One Second” to all those who love motion pictures in a hand-written letter publicized on Wednesday. “I will forever remember how we used to watch movies when I was a child. The unspeakable excitement and joy are just like a dream. We grew up with films. We live our lifetimes with dreams,” he wrote.
Despite his enormous fame and reach within China’s film industry, Zhang once shouldered grave pressures from investors and harsh scrutiny from moviegoers to make big blockbusters, such as “Hero,” “House of Flying Daggers,” and “Curse of the Golden Flower,” as well as critically-panned Hollywood monster fantasy movie “The Great Wall.” But in recent years, it seems that he has freed himself from the pressures and shot more films at a quicker pace and in various genres to satisfy his ambition and love for movies.
Zhang’s two other completed films are “Impasse” and “Under the Light,” for which release dates have not yet been announced.
“Impasse” is a film created during the COVID-19 pandemic and shot in a very cold environment in northeast China. It is an action thriller, a genre new to Zhang. The story is about a mission against Japanese invaders during World War II. After watching the raw cut, screenwriter Quan Yongxian praised Zhang for his world-class directorial vision at the ongoing Silk Road International Film Festival held in Xi’an, Shaanxi province.
The crime drama “Under the Light,” with what could be Zhang’s largest and most complex storyline of recent years, is also new territory for the award-winning director. “It’s something I’ve never tried before; it’s urban, modern, and cool,” he said.
According to recent media reports, Zhang has already started shooting another film about the Korean War.
Zhang’s most recent success is “Shadow,” a historical period epic set in the Three Kingdoms era (220-280), which grossed 628 million yuan ($93 million) in China in 2018. In addition, he is also the executive producer of the anthology film, “My People, My Homeland,” which hit Chinese theaters on Oct. 1, National Day. By Tuesday, it had grossed 2.22 billion yuan.
“There will always be a film you remember for a lifetime. Perhaps it is not about the film itself, but the same old anticipation and longing to look up at the stars in the sky,” Zhang wrote in his open letter.