Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou made his directorial debut with Red Sorghum, winner of the Berlin Golden Bear in 1988. Judou (1989) and Raise the Red Lantern (1991) were both nominated for Academy Awards in the category of “Best Foreign Language Film,” and To Live (1994) was a co-winner of the Grand Prix du Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. More recently, he achieved enormous popular success with the films Hero (2002), featuring music composed by Tan Dun, and House of Flying Daggers (2004). He made his operatic debut directing Turandot for the Teatro Comunale in Florence in 1997, then staging the same opera on location in the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1998.
Zhang Yimou was born in the ancient Chinese city of Xian in the Shaanxi Province. While working on farms and factories during the Cultural Revolution, he began taking photographs that later helped him gain admission to study cinematography at the Beijing Film Academy, from which he graduated in 1982. Zhang Yimou’s most recent film, Curse of the Golden Flower with Gong Li, is scheduled for release later this year. His current projects include the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, which he will co-design with Steven Spielberg.