Titanic challenge for Spielberg, Zhang
By Raymond Zhou (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-18 05:56
Two of the titans of the film world sat down yesterday afternoon in Beijing
and discussed the meaning of films and the goals they want to achieve with the
Spielberg, who was on Sunday named the artistic adviser for the 2008 Olympic
opening and closing ceremonies, and Zhang Yimou, who has been appointed chief
director for the same events, revealed their mutual admiration in a special
programme taped by CCTV's Movie Channel.
China Daily helped design the questions as well as set parameters for the
"I've seen all your movies," enthused Zhang. He started with the "Indiana
Jones" series and graduated to "E.T." and "Jaws"; and said "Schindler's List"
and "Saving Private Ryan" touched a deep chord with "their depictions of human
"Raise the Red Lantern" was the first Chinese film Spielberg happened to see.
"It exposed me to a culture I didn't know anything about and I felt drawn to the
characters." And yesterday, he bought a DVD set of Zhang's works and asked him
for an autograph. Zhang inscribed: "To my favourite film director and an old
Talking about Zhang's movies, he said that he could completely understand
what is going on even if he does not look at the English subtitles.
Both Spielberg and Zhang agreed that films are fundamentally about human
emotions, which transcend languages and cultures.
In "Munich," Spielberg approached the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a
sense of mission: to encourage both sides to communicate with each other.
Zhang's "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles" is also about the importance of
communication between generations, languages and nations.
"Munich" has more depth than "Riding," noted Zhang, who is saddened by the
hostilities between different cultures.