Xia Gang

Xia Gang
b. 1953, Beijing
Film director
Xia Gang is a unique member of the ‘Fifth Generation’ of directors (see Fifth Generation (film directors)). His films are representative of the new kind of urban film reflecting modern Chinese life, and he laid the foundation for the ‘Sixth Generation’ (see Sixth Generation (film directors)). Xia Gang graduated from Beijing Film Academy in 1982 and began working at Beijing Film Studio. He directed his first film, When We Are Still Young, at graduation. The 1990s became the most productive period of his film career.
Xia Gang’s films generally fall between art films and commercial films.
While his Fifth Generation classmates, such as Zhang Yimou, made art films set in traditional rural China and were all grappling with issues such as xungen (see Root-seeking school), Xia Gang focused his films on modern urban daily life. Also, unlike many of his Fifth Generation contemporaries, Xia Gang’s films are primarily for domestic consumption and garner good box office receipts. Xia Gang insists on making films about the ‘feelings of urban people’. He is interested in creating a new type of character in response to the changing demands of modern life, as capitalism takes hold in China. His films are filled with humour, and skilfully maintain a light atmosphere while conveying the hardships of city life. Some of his best-known films are: Encounter Passion (Zaoyu jiqing, 1990), After Separation (Da shaba, 1992), No One Applauds (Wuren hecai, 1993) and Toast the Past (Yu wangshi ganbei, 1995). At the Thirteenth Golden Rooster Awards Xia Gang was named Best Director for After Separation.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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