by Elizabeth Kerr

Thirty years ago, the auteur burst onto the international stage with a stunning debut that would help usher in a new era for China’s nascent film industry.

Looking back on Zhang Yimou’s Red Sorghum now, it’s hard to believe that a first-time filmmaker (though he was a cinematographer who’d worked for a guy called Chen Kaige) managed to assemble such an army of talent on his first try — talent that would go on to shape China’s emergent art house film industry for decades. Star Gong Li made her acting debut alongside third-timer Jiang Wen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). Cinematographer Gu Changwei would go on to shoot Chen’s Farewell My Concubine and direct the Silver Bear-winning Peacock in 2005, and the film was based on a work by eventual (if controversial) Nobel laureate Mo Yan. Not a bad start for a director that would arguably become the quintessential Fifth Generation filmmaker…

Reblogged from Hollywood Reporter

Image courtesy of HKIFF/Hong Kong International Film Festival