Li Yu (director)

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Li.
Li Yu
Chinese name 李玉
Pinyin Lǐ Yù (Mandarin)
Born (1973-12-02) December 2, 1973 (age 41)
Shandong, China
Occupation Director, Screenwriter
Years active 1990s-present

Li Yu (born December 2, 1973) is a female Chinese film director and screenwriter. Li began her career in entertainment at a young age, serving as a presenter at a local TV station.[1] After college she worked for CCTV where she directed television programs before moving onto documentaries and, eventually, feature films.[2]

Directorial career[edit]

Her feature film debut came with 2001's Fish and Elephant, purportedly the first mainland Chinese feature to tackle the subject of lesbianism.[3] The film was screened abroad with some difficulty, but for the most part was not given an opportunity to screen before mainland Chinese audiences.

Her next film, Dam Street, was plagued less by problems, and garnered Li the Golden Lotus from the specialty Deauville Asian Film Festival in 2006.[4]

In 2007, Li Yu's most high profile film yet, Lost in Beijing premiered at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival. The result was over a year of controversy with the Chinese Film Bureau over both the appropriateness of that screening and of the content of the film. Though briefly screened in a heavily edited state, the film was eventually banned outright, though it was given limited releases abroad, including in the United States.

In 2010, Li Yu's coming-of-age film Buddha Mountain won the Award for Best Artistic Contribution at the 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival.[5]


Year English Title Chinese Title Notes
1996 Sisters 姐姐 documentary
1997 Stay and Hope 守望 documentary
1998 Honor and Dreams 光荣与梦想 documentary
2001 Fish and Elephant 今年夏天 Feature film debut
2005 Dam Street 红颜 2006 Golden Lotus winner
2007 Lost in Beijing 苹果
2010 Buddha Mountain 观音山
2012 Double Xposure 二次曝光


  1. ^ Wu Yiqing (2007-12-11). "Li Yu's Forbidden Fruit". Beijing Review. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  2. ^ "Lost in Beijing Press Kit". New Yorker Films. Retrieved 2008-01-28. [dead link]
  3. ^ Kraicer, Shelly (2002-05-23). "Fish and Elephant: review by Shelly Kraicer". Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  4. ^ Xinhua News Agency (2006-03-13). "China's "Dam Street" wins top prize in France's Asian Film Festival". English Eastday. Retrieved 2008-12-31. 
  5. ^ Post Card and Buddha Mountain win at Tokyo International Film Festival

External links[edit]