Zhang Yimou to receive top honor

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Chinese director Zhang Yimou will receive an award at this year's Venice Film Festival. [Photo/Xinhua]

Celebrated Chinese director Zhang Yimou will receive the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award at this year's Venice Film Festival, organizers announced recently.

The prize is dedicated to "a figure who has left a particularly original mark on contemporary cinema", the statement said.

The award will be conferred on Zhang on Sept 6, before the world premiere of his new film Ying (Shadow), a martial arts movie about the conflict between two feudal groups in China during the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280).

The director, who was born in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, in 1950, has won the Venice Golden Lion twice: in 1992 with The Story of Qiu Ju-which also garnered Gong Li a Coppa Volpi prize for best actress-and in 1999 with Not One Less.

He also won a Silver Lion in 1991 for Raise the Red Lantern.

"Zhang Yimou is not only one of the most important directors in contemporary cinema, but with his eclectic productions he has represented the evolution of the global language of film, and at the same time, the exceptional growth of Chinese cinema," Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera said in a statement.

"Zhang Yimou has been a pioneer thanks to his capacity to translate authors, stories and the richness of Chinese culture in general into a unique and unmistakable visual style."

Barbera cited the Chinese master's "talent in combining the elegance of form with a universal type of narrative structure" and his "unforgettable debut", Red Sorghum, which was adapted from the writing of Nobel Prize-winning author Mo Yan, and which "brought him international recognition as one of the most important directors of the Fifth Generation (of Chinese filmmakers)".

Zhang Yimou is the only director to have won all the important prizes of the Venice Film Festival in less than 10 years, organizers said.

The festival now is its 75th edition, will run from Aug 29 to Sept 8.

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