Jiang Wen

Jiang Wen (born 5 January 1963) is a Chinese film actor, screenwriter, and director. As a director, he is sometimes grouped with the "Sixth Generation" that emerged in the 1990s.[1] Jiang is also well known internationally as an actor, having starred with Gong Li in Zhang Yimou's debut film Red Sorghum (1986), and more recently as Baze Malbus in the Star Wars film Rogue One (2016). He is the older brother of fellow actor Jiang Wu.

Jiang Wen
Jiang Wen at the Deauville Asian Film Festival in France in 2008
Born (1963-01-05) 5 January 1963
ResidenceBeijing
Alma materCentral Academy of Drama
OccupationActor, screenwriter, film director
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)
Sandrine Chenivesse (m. 19972005)

Zhou Yun (m. 2005)
Children
  • Jiang Yilang (daughter), with Sandrine Chenivesse
  • Jiang Mahu (son), with Zhou Yun
  • 1 son, with Zhou Yun
Parent(s)Jiang Hongqi (father)
Gao Yang (mother)
Awards
Hong Kong Film AwardsBest Supporting Actor
1997 The Soong Sisters

Hong Kong Film Critics Society AwardsBest Director
2011 Let the Bullets Fly
Best Screenplay
2011 Let the Bullets Fly

Golden Horse AwardsBest Director
1996 In the Heat of the Sun
Best Adapted Screenplay
1996 In the Heat of the Sun
2011 Let the Bullets Fly
Best Film Editing
2007 The Sun Also Rises

Hundred Flowers AwardsBest Actor
1986 Hibiscus Town
1989 A Woman for two

Career

Born in Tangshan, Hebei, in a family of military personnel, Jiang relocated to Beijing at the age of ten. In 1973 he attended Beijing No. 72 Middle School, Where he studied alongside Ying Da.[2] In 1980, he entered China's foremost acting school, the Central Academy of Drama, graduating in 1984. After graduation, he was assigned to China Youth Art Institute as an actor.[2] That same year, he started acting both on the stage (with the China Youth Theater) and in films.

Jiang's debut role was in the film The Last Empress, where he portrayed Puyi.[3] He then starred in Hibiscus Town directed by Xie Jin; his role as an intellectual revolutionary earned him the Best Actor Award at the Hundred Flowers Awards.[4] Jiang once again paired with Hibiscus Town co-star in the film Chun Tao directed by Ling Zifeng.[5] Jiang was cast in Zhang Yimou's debut film Red Sorghum.[6] Jiang also featured in the France-Chinese film Tears of the Bridal Sedan, and his first commercial film The Trial.

After appearing in many television series and films, Jiang became known in China for his role in the 1992 television series A Native of Beijing in New York, based on the novel Beijinger in New York, which made him one of the most popular actors of his generation.[7] In addition to these he also starred in Black Snow (1990),[8] Li Lianying: The Imperial Eunuch (1991),[9] The Emperor's Shadow (1996),[10] and The Soong Sisters (1997). Apart from Red Sorghum, Jiang also collaborated with Zhang Yimou for the 1997 film Keep Cool.

Jiang wrote and directed his first film in 1994, In the Heat of the Sun, adapted from a novel by Wang Shuo.[11] A tale set in the Cultural Revolution, it won for its young lead actor Xia Yu the Best Actor prize at the Venice Film Festival and garnered six Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan.

In 2000, Jiang co-wrote and directed the black comedy film Devils on the Doorstep. The film premiered at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival and clinched the Grand Prix[12] but was subsequently banned in its home country;[13] said to undermine the country because it "seriously distorts Chinese history". Jiang himself was banned from making films for seven years.[14] In 2001 he was a member of the jury at the 23rd Moscow International Film Festival.[15]

Jiang starred in several films in the early 2000s; namely The Missing Gun, Green Tea, My Father and I, Warriors of Heaven and Earth, Jasmine Women and Letter from an Unknown Woman.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

Jiang has also acted in television series, such as Da Qing Fengyun (2006), in which he played Hong Taiji.[23] He also played notable historical figures, Mao Renfeng in the propaganda film The Founding of a Republic;[24] and Cao Cao in the historical war film The Lost Bladesman.[25]

Jiang returned with his fourth feature The Sun Also Rises in 2007; a fantasy realism film which contains a polyptych of interconnected stories in different time-zones; the film received positive reviews from critics but bombed at the box office.[26][27] He then collaborated with 10 other directors on the romance anthology film New York, I Love You.[28]

Jiang's fifth feature, a Western-styled action comedy Let the Bullets Fly set a box office record by becoming the fastest Chinese-language film to break RMB100m mark ($15.15m) in Chinese cinemas; and received critical acclaim.[29][30]

In 2013 he was named as a member of the jury at the 70th Venice International Film Festival.[31]

In 2014, Jiang directed the action comedy film Gone with the Bullets, which screened at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.[32][33]

Jiang co-starred in the Star Wars anthology film Rogue One, released in December 2016. In the film, he portrays Baze Malbus, a native of the moon of Jedha who is drawn into the war against the Galactic Empire.[34]

In 2018, Jiang directed the Republican-era spy comedy Hidden Man.[35] The film was China's submission to the 91st Academy Awards.[36]

Jiang is set to return to the small screen in upcoming historical drama Cao Cao.[37]

Personal life

Family

Jiang Wen's father is Jiang Hongqi, a veteran of the Korean War. Described as taciturn and bookish, he played a minor role in his son's 2011 film, Let the Bullets Fly. Jiang's mother Gao Yang — “a cheerful, extroverted woman” — worked as a piano teacher. Jiang Wen is the eldest son in the family; in addition to his younger brother, Jiang Wu, he has a younger sister, Jiang Huan.

Close to his family, Jiang has a deep bond with his parents: whenever he is on site for shooting or acting, he arranges for them to come to his workplace so that he can spend time with them. Each movie he makes, he saves the best seats for them and asks for their opinions. Even on artistic composition, he sometimes resorts to them for advice. It was his parents' endorsement on the original novel of A Native of Beijing in New York that propelled Jiang into his performance. Later, during the filming of his first feature film, In the Heat of the Sun, Jiang again considered their evaluation of Xia Yu, before settling on him as the leading actor.[38]

Relationship

Jiang met his first partner, Liu Xiaoqing during the production of his debut film Hibiscus Town. As he was 23 and she was 31, their relationship was controversial in the entertainment industry at that time, although it was reported that the crew was very supportive of their relationship. Liu Xiaoqing never confirmed the relationship, but only claimed that the media pressure was so suffocating that she once conceived going abroad. Years later at one ceremony, Director Xie Jin finally verified this rumor, revealing that they had actually lived together for three years. Liu and Jiang separated amicably in 1994.[39]

In 1995, Jiang began a relationship with Sandrine Chenivesse, a Doctor of Anthropology at the University of Paris, researching philosophy and Taoism in China, at an artistic event. In 1997, they were married in Paris and conceived a daughter together, but the marriage remained discreet until their appearance on the red carpet of the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. In 2005, Chenivesse announced divorce with Jiang, citing long-distance separation as the cause.[40]

In 2001, during the filming of Warriors of Heaven and Earth, Jiang was introduced to cast member Zhou Yun, by fellow actress Zhao Wei. Later, Jiang recommended Zhou to the cast of The Music Box, but each left the crew after a creative difference between Jiang and the director Chen Yifei. After a period of media rumors, Jiang and Zhou were officially married at the end of 2005, and have conceived two sons.[41]

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1986The Last Empress
末代皇后
Puyi
1986Hibiscus Town
芙蓉镇
Qiu Shutian
1986Tears of the Bridal Sedan
花轿泪
1987Red Sorghum
红高梁
My grandpapa
1989 Chun Tao
春桃
Wen Chiang
1990Black Snow
本命年
Li Huiquan
1991Li Lianying: The Imperial Eunuch
大太监李莲英
Li Lianying
1993The Trail
大路
Chinese policeman
1994In the Heat of the Sun
阳光灿烂的日子
Ma Xiaojun (adult)Director; writer
1996The Emperor's Shadow
秦颂
Ying Zheng
1997Keep Cool
有话好好说
Bookseller
1997The Soong Sisters
宋家皇朝
Charlie Soong
2000Devils on the Doorstep
鬼子来了
Ma DasanDirector; writer
2002The Missing Gun
寻枪
Ma Shan
2003Green Tea
绿茶
Chen Mingliang
2003My Father and I
我和爸爸
2003Warriors of Heaven and Earth
天地英雄
Lieutenant Li
2004Jasmine Women
茉莉花开
Mr. Meng
2004Letter from an Unknown Woman
一个陌生女人的来信
Writer / Mr. Xu
2007The Sun Also Rises
太阳照常升起
Tang YunlinDirector; writer
2008New York, I Love You
纽约,我爱你
Director
2009The Founding of a Republic
建国大业
Mao Renfeng
2010Let the Bullets Fly
让子弹飞
Zhang Mazi (Zhang Muzhi)Director; writer
2011The Lost Bladesman
关云长
Cao Cao
2014Gone with the Bullets
一步之遥
Ma ZouriDirector
2016Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
侠盗一号:星球大战外传
Baze Malbus
2018Hidden Man
邪不压正
Lan QingfengDirector; writer

Television series

YearTitleRoleNotes
1993A Native of Beijing in New York
北京人在纽约
Wang Qiming
1997A Sentimental Story
一场风花雪月的事
Producer
2006Da Qing Fengyun
大清风云
Hong Taiji

Accolades

YearAwardCategoryNominated workNotes
198710th Hundred Flowers AwardsBest ActorHibiscus Town
198912th Hundred Flowers AwardsBest ActorChun Tao
2nd Golden Phoenix AwardsSociety AwardRed Sorghum
199412th China TV Golden Eagle AwardBest ActorA Native of Beijing in New York[42]
199633rd Golden Horse Film Festival and AwardsBest DirectorIn the Heat of the Sun[43]
Best Original Screenplay
199817th Hong Kong Film AwardsBest Supporting ActorThe Soong Sisters
200053rd Cannes Film FestivalGrand Prize of the JuryDevils on the Doorstep
200154th Cannes Film FestivalFrance Culture Award - Foreign Cineaste of the Year
20033rd Chinese Film Media AwardsBest ActorThe Missing Gun[44]
Most Popular Actor
12th Shanghai Film Critics AwardsBest Actor
20044th Chinese Film Media AwardsMost Popular ActorWarriors of Heaven and Earth[45]
11th Beijing College Student Film FestivalMost Popular Actor[46]
200510th Golden Phoenix AwardsSociety Award[47]
200744th Golden Horse Film Festival and AwardsBest Film EditingThe Sun Also Rises[48]
200821st Tokyo International Film FestivalAsian Film Award - Special Mention
201120th Shanghai Film Critics AwardsBest ActorThe Lost Bladesman[49]
48th Golden Horse Film Festival and AwardsBest Original ScreenplayLet the Bullets Fly[50]
11th Chinese Film Media AwardsBest Director[51]
20123rd China Film Director's Guild AwardsBest Director[52]
201417th Shanghai International Film FestivalOutstanding Contribution AwardN/A[53]

[54] [55]

References

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  • Silbergeld, Jerome (2008), Body in Question: Image and Illusion in Two Chinese Films by Director Jiang Wen (Princeton: Princeton University Press)
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