Zhang Yimou – twórca niezależny, twórca koniunkturalny? Metamorfozy artysty w państwie komunistycznym

Łukasz Bachora,

Masa Gustin


Zhang Yimou – independent director or supporter of the state? One artist’s metamorphosis in a communist country

This article describes how different attitudes towards reality develop as a result of living under a communist regime that undergoes dynamic economic and social transformation. The main focus is placed on Zhang Yimou, the renowned Chinese director, whose life and work seem to reflect on-going changes in a unique way,  showing a pattern closely correlated with the political and social situation in China. The author describes how two major revolutions, the Cultural Revolution and the following economic transformation of China, shaped the life of Zhang and influenced his work. When analyzed in depth, his movies form cycles which coincide with the rapidly changing social and political circumstances. Three such cycles are described: an independent movie-making stage, developing around the early stages of economic transformation and the events in Tiananmen Square in 1989; an intermediate stage related to the development of a new, semi-capitalist society in the nineties; and finally, a commercial stage related to the great economic boom of the first decade of the twenty-first century.