China embracing once-controversial director

BEIJING — Chinese helmer Zhang Yimou is planning to make a movie to mark the 60th anniversary of the revolution that brought the Communist Party to power — the latest step in the once-banned filmmaker’s rehabilitation.

His assistant, Pang Liwei, confirmed the helmer was considering several scripts.

Zhang, who choreographed the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Beijing last year, is also due to stage manage a huge celebration of the anniversary on Oct. 1.

Movies such as “Red Sorghum” and “To Live” earned Zhang official bans, consigning him to fame in foreign film fests, a fate that blights many a dissident Chinese helmer.

In recent years, however, he has produced pics seen as pro-government, such as “Hero,” or apolitical, such as mainstream movies “House of Flying Daggers” or “Curse of the Golden Flower.”

His pic joins a string of projects announced for the anniversary including “The Great Cause of China’s Foundation,” a major propaganda movie described as starring the “most powerful lineup in the history of Chinese film.” Pic is being overseen by Han Sanping, head of the state-owned China Film Group (Daily Variety, Feb. 13).

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