Jiang Wen says it's important for director to state attitude

Jiang Wen, chair of the jury at the ongoing Shanghai International Film Festival, led Monday's film festival forum "Filmmaking with Jiang Wen." 
Dong Jun / SHINE

Jiang Wen

Jiang Wen, chair of the jury at the ongoing Shanghai International Film Festival, led Monday’s film festival forum “Filmmaking with Jiang Wen,” and talked about his award-packed film career as an actor and director, his criteria to choose the Golden Goblet, as well as his latest film “Hidden Man” that will hit the screens in July.

“Originality is important,” he says. “And director with an attitude.”

Jiang, who is famous for his blunt and sometimes controversial comments, adds that if a director can’t have the say in his movie, he just shouldn’t make the film.

“It will be a waste even if he does,” he says.

Jiang first rose to fame in the late director Xie Jin’s masterpiece “Hibiscus Town” in 1986, and has worked with many established Chinese directors as an actor, including Zhang Yimou in the award winning movie “Red Sorghum” (1987).

Most recently, he played Baze Malbus, guardian of the Whills, in the Star Wars movie “Rogue One” (2016). The star soon turned to directing in 1993, with “In the Head of the Sun,” still considered a classic Chinese art house film today.

“Hidden Men,” his sixth directorial work, is set in 1937, just before the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out on July 7. The film features a martial arts practitioner who escaped a massacre by the Japanese and came back for revenge.

“In 1937, all Chinese faced the turbulence of broken family and nation when the Japanese invaded,” Jiang says of the movie’s background.

“Fighting that invasion is something that should be presented, but Chinese filmmakers haven’t done as good a job as our foreign colleagues, who have invested so much financially and artistically into making the persecution of the Jewish known to even an ordinary young Chinese grown up in a remote town.”

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