"I always wanted to teach people through film, to give them a big message. But now what I feel I want to do is more to dream through film, hoping that maybe the film itself will be able to tell more than I can." – Chen Kaige
Esteemed for his realistic, compassionate, sensitive, and unflinching view of the lives and hopes of the Chinese people, his mastery at formulating visual metaphors, cinematic language palpitates and audio streams, Chen is one of the more philosophical artists to reach international acclaim and one of the leading directors in Chinese Cinema.
Chen’s visual style is dominated by beautiful landscape shots of China and realistic portrayals of rural life. Chen depicts the complexity of human beings in his films by analysing the impact of history and tradition. His ability to masterly produce films that reflect the history and culture of China is founded on his solid understanding of Chinese culture and art. Throughout Chen’s films, he expressed the pursuit of humanity and aesthetics, employing various film-making techniques.
Born in 1952, Chen’s life was heavily affected by the Cultural Revolution. His father, having been a filmmaker himself, was denounced by his son (Chen), who was only a teenager at the time. Chen’s films set during this era are marked by bold depictions and a distinct, often critical, voice.
Chen’s Chinese historical drama film, Farewell my Concubine, is currently the only Chinese language film to have won the Palme d’Or at Cannes.