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5 Reasons You Should Know Feng Xiaogang
Why the Chinese director should be on your radar...

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When it comes Chinese cinema most of us are probably familiar with the weapon-wielding, tree-prancing characters carving up Zhang Yimou’s colourful palettes, or the practically mute, chain-smoking, oh-so-stylish leads looming in the corners Wong Kar Wai’s silver screen. But, much as we love them, there’s more to Chinese cinema than wuxia and ‘70s Hong Kong romances. There’s Feng Xiaogang. The BFI has just dedicated a whole season to the man behind The Banquet - an epic and gorgeous adaptation of Hamlet – and war epic Back To 1942. So when Empire was invited to speak with Feng about his BFI retrospective, we interrupted the director’s afternoon cigarette to bring you the five reasons why he should be on your radar…

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He’s China’s Answer To Steven Spielberg

‘‘I think that there’s a distance between Spielberg and myself. I’m not there yet” the director says of comparisons with the Hollywood great. “From a hierarchical sense maybe” he expands, “Spielberg is regarded as a very commercial director, who later in his career started to make some very serious films, including Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, and also others.” Feng’s early work such as The Dream Factory and Da Wan were big hits in China and enabled him to tackle more intense subject matters like war and natural disasters (read Assembly and Aftershock), an evolution not dissimilar from Spielberg. Stylistic comparisons between the directors are also easy to see, particularly in Back To 1942 and Assembly where flying bullets and scenes of mass bombings echo the grand scope and drama seen in Saving Private Ryan

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