Zhang Yang

Zhang Yang
b. 1967, Beijing
Film director, scriptwriter
After completing his undergraduate education in Chinese literature at Zhongshan University (now Sun Yat-sen University) in 1988, Zhang Yang pursued film directing and graduated from the Central Drama Academy in 1992. Young and independent, Zhang Yang and his peers have been described as a new generation of film directors determined to create a genre of urban cinema and innovative filmmaking. Their works are markedly different from the Fifth Generation’s national allegories (see Fifth Generation (film directors)) as well as from official mainstream narratives.
Zhang Yang has made three feature films to date, each produced by Imar Film Co., an independent film production company founded by Peter Loehr, who is also as a producer. Spicy Love Soup (Aiqing malatang, 1997) is a romantic comedy that uses montage to assemble five episodes about different relationships into a meta-narrative. Although the fragments bear no connection to each other, collectively they present a picture of the reality of urban life in contemporary China. Shower (Xizao, 1999) has attracted audiences inside and outside China. Using the setting of a traditional public bathhouse to consider father—son relationships, the film captures a moment of transition in China when tradition fades out while modernity asserts itself.
A later work, Quitting (Zuotian, 2001), depicts the story of a real person, Jia Hongsheng, a cult film actor who struggles to recover from drug addiction with the help of his loving parents. The story is personal and compelling as the actor and his parents play themselves. Realistic yet not truly a documentary, the film reveals different aspects of the actor’s journey as Zhang Yuan juxtaposes various episodes like a stage director.
Kuo, Kaiser. Shower Power: An Interview with Shower Director Zhang Yang. Available at http://www.chinanow.com
Rayns, Tony (2001). ‘Reviews’. Sight and Sound 11: 4 and 58.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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