About 20 years ago, a new class of film directors came from the Beijing Film Academy. They were the first to graduate after the Cultural Revolution and they went on to change Chinese cinema forever. Chen Kaige was one of those filmmakers. He brought spectacular epics and detailed, disturbing images of China to a world that had never seen the country that way.
Chen’s films show both the warmth and beauty of China alongside the brutality of its political system. He has won critical acclaim for his unflinching eye, but some of his films are violent, hard to watch. His new film, Together, is about the clash of values in a rapidly modernizing China. It also marks a change for the filmmaker, a return to simple stories, of teachers, and students, and violins.
Chen Kaige, director, Together and numerous other Chinese films, including Farewell My Concubine and Yellow Earth
Eileen Chow, Assistant Professor of Chinese Literary and Cultural Studies at Harvard University