Tian Zhuangzhuang - Film Director

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A magnolia in a strip of film

One of the most radical of the Fifth Generation directors, both in stance and approach. Born in 1952 he worked as a photographer before joining the Beijing Film school and training as a cameraman and then director. His approach in his early and most contraversial films (Horse Thief, On the Hunting Ground) is almost a documentary style, low on both narrative drive and dialogue, depending on incidental visual detail. These films explore and document the cultures within which they are set Tibet and Inner-Mongolia, cultures largely suppressed within the official media of the PRC. Like Zhang Yimou, with who he worked on his first film, Tian has made various television projects to help fund his more difficult cinema presentations. Tian's most famous film in the West, The Blue Kite, deals with the experiences of the Cultural Revolution, and does so without metaphor or frills. The film proved so provocative that it had to be finished outside China. Dispite being his most popular and accomplished film to date, and winning international acclaim the film was not well recieved by the Chinese authorities. Tian was unable to make pictures for many years, and was silent other than appearing as an actor in Ruan's Song. In 2002 he re-emerged, making a film, fror the first time a literary adaptation - a 'safe' subject, and the route which Zhang Yi-mou had used several times to find his way back into grace. The resulting Spring Time in a Small Town is in cinemas now.


  • Red Elephant (1982) D
  • Jiuyue (1984) D
  • On the Hunting Ground (Lie chang zha sha) (1984) D
  • The Blue Kite (Lan feng zheng) (1993) D
  • The Horse Thief (Dao ma zei) (1986) D
  • Gushu Yiren (1987) D
  • Yaogun Qingnian (1988) D
  • Da Taijian Li Lianying (1991) D
  • The Blue Kite (Lan feng zheng) (1993) D
  • Ruan's Song (Biandan, guniang) (1998) P
  • Springtime in a Small Town (2003) D

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