Perhaps little-known to western audiences, legendary Chinese director Xie Jin nonetheless deserves his place on the Zavvi A to Z of directors. One the most influential of the so-called ‘Third generation’ of Chinese directors, Xie first came into the public eye with the release of his movie Woman Basketball Player No. 5 in 1957, which was the first colour sports movie filmed after the formation of the People’s Republic of China.
Thee of his films won the prestigious Golden Rooster award for best picture, with 6 winning best picture awards at the Hundred Flowers Awards.
Xie Jin’s The Opium War (1997)
Written by: Zhu Sujin, Ni Zhen, Zong Fuxian, Mai Tianshu
Starring: Bao Guo’an, Lin Liankun, Sihung Lung, Bob Peck, Simon Williams
Cinematography: Hou Yong, Shang Yong
His 1997 film The Opium War is probably his film best known to British audiences, released as it was on the eve of the UK’s return of Hong Kong. Despite it’s heavy backing from the Chinese government and openly politicized nature, most western critics found the handling of the historical events surrounding the film to be even-handed. Indeed, The Guardian review at the time called the film “relatively nuanced” and praised the performance of English actor Bob Peck. At the time of the films release, The Opium War was the most expensive film ever created in china with a budget of over US$15 million.
Featured Image Source: Rex Features