Chen Kaige

The son of a filmmaker from the earlier generation of Chinese socialist realism, Chen Kaige represents the Fifth Generation, filmmakers who attended Beijing Film Institute after the Cultural Revolution. After graduating in 1982, Chen and his classmates began a new wave in Chinese cinema by emphasizing the visual and aural qualities of film rather than traditional dramatic and literary elements. Their films have also been characterized by a strong political commitment which has led to objections from censors and has limited their domestic audience to students and intellectuals. Outside China, however, Chen Kaige and the other Fifth Generation filmmakers have drawn attention from an increasingly wide circle of film sophisticates who have hailed their efforts as the next most important New Wave. Chen has been awarded top festival prizes in Tokyo, Cannes and Berlin.