Jiang Wen

Jiang Wen
b. 1963, Beijing
Actor/film director and producer
A talented actor and sophisticated director, Jiang Wen is well known both in China and abroad. He graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in Jiang Wen has since established a superstar screen Beijing with a degree in performing arts (1984). persona through the many films he has co-starred in, directed or produced. Jiang Wen has played various roles in his career, and each has presented a distinct identity. He first established his reputation playing the ‘rightist’ in Xie Fei’s Hibiscus Town, (Furong zhen, 1985). Then, as the legendary hero in Zhang Yimou’s Red Sorghum (Hong gaoliang, 1987), Jiang gained international recognition. The roles of bookseller in Zhang Yimou’s Keep Cool (Youhua haohao shuo, 1997) and emperor in Zhou Xiaowen’s The Emperor’s Shadow (Qin Song, 1996) demonstrated his versatility, while his performance in the television series Beijingers in New York made him immensely popular in China.
Jiang Wen has also directed two impressive feature films.
His directoral debut, In the Heat of the Sun (Yangguang canlan de rizi, 1995), is a coming-of-age story that examines the Cultural Revolution from the personal perspective of a teenager, re-staging a revolutionary past when radical adolescents seized centre-stage from authoritarian adults. His second feature, Devils on the Doorstep (Guizi laile, 1999), in which he also plays the lead, revisits the conflict between China and Japan in the Second World War in a confrontation between Chinese villagers and two prisoners-of-war. The film satirically reveals the Chinese treating their enemies as victims only to have their kindnesses repaid with the slaughter of innocents. Jiang Wen also plays the protagonist in Lu Chuan’s directing debut, Xun Qiang (2002), in addition to being the film’s producer.
Cui, Shuqin (2001). ‘Working From the Margins and Outside the System: Independent Film Directors in Contemporary China’. Post Script 20:77–93.
Hajari, Nisid (2000). ‘Devils’ Advocate’. TIME asia 155 (22 May). Available at http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/2000/0522/cinema.jiangwen.html

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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