Jiang Wen

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Jiang Wen
2008-03-14 Jiang Wen.jpg
Jiang Wen at the Deauville Asian Film Festival in France in 2008
Background information
Chinese name姜文
PinyinJiāng Wén (Mandarin)
Born (1963-01-05) 5 January 1963 (age 55)
Tangshan, Hebei, China
ResidenceBeijing, China
EthnicityHan
Alma materCentral Academy of Drama
OccupationActor, screenwriter, film director
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)
Sandrine Chenivesse (m. 1997–2005)

Zhou Yun (m. 2005)
Children
  • Jiang Yilang (daughter), with Sandrine Chenivesse
  • Jiang Mahu (son), with Zhou Yun
  • 1 son, with Zhou Yun
ParentsJiang Hongqi (father)
Gao Yang (mother)
Awards
Hong Kong Film Awards
Best Supporting Actor
1997 The Soong Sisters
Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
Best Director
2011 Let the Bullets Fly
Best Screenplay
2011 Let the Bullets Fly
Golden Horse Awards
Best 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 Awards
Best Actor
1986 Hibiscus Town
1989 A Woman for two

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.

Career[edit]

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 a intellectual revolutionist 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[edit]

Family[edit]

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[edit]

Hibiscus Town was the movie that first catapulted Jiang, a then-obscure university student, into fame and popularity. His partner in the film was Liu Xiaoqing, he was 23 and she was 31, and they were passionately involved during the shooting, making a sensational news in the entertainment industry at that time. Reportedly, the crew was very supportive of their relationship. After successive appearances in Hibiscus Town and Red Sorghum, Jiang was gradually garnering his own reputation, and yet in the face of Liu Xiaoqing, who was already an internationally acclaimed actress, he was still the fledging junior. Even after years, Liu Xiaoqing never admitted this romance herself, 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. In 1994, they broke up in an amicable manner, and have managed to keep alive their friendship to this day.[39]

Jiang and his French ex-wife Sandrine Chenivesse first encountered each other at an artistic celebrity gathering in 1995: he was sitting alone at a corner, staring blankly at space, so she went up introducing herself to him, and that was the beginning of their romance. Chenivesse was a Doctor of Anthropology at the University of Paris, who happened to be researching topics in philosophy and Taoism in China. In the autumn of 1997, they registered for marriage in Paris and had a daughter together, but they remained low-key on media until their appearance on the red carpet of the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. In 2005, Chenivesse announced divorce with Jiang after coming back from France with their daughter, the main factor of the divorce being their long-distance separation.[40]

In 2001, during the filming of Warriors of Heaven and Earth, famous actress Zhao Wei introduced Zhou Yun, a cast member from the same movie, to Jiang. Zhou Yun, a laureate Miss Beauty of Wen Zhou Beauty Pageant, was mesmerized by the City of Beijing and decided to pursue an acting career there, so she entered the same school with Jiang, the Central Academy of Drama. Graduating from the same school and disciplined by the same mentor, Jiang and Zhou, despite a 15-year age gap, shared the same passion and interest. 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. Their successive withdrawals spawned much speculations about the ambiguous relationship between them, and rumors started to spread. Once, when Zhou was studying a character at Jiang's studio, she happened on him drinking and sulking for missing his daughter. When Jiang sobered up, he opened up to her about his history with the French ex-wife. It was when Jiang was confiding to her that she realized her affection for him and decided to stay with him. At the end of 2005, they were officially married, and now they have two sons.[41]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

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

Television series[edit]

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

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Notes
1987 10th Hundred Flowers Awards Best Actor Hibiscus Town
1989 12th Hundred Flowers Awards Best Actor Chun Tao
2nd Golden Phoenix Awards Society Award Red Sorghum
1994 12th China TV Golden Eagle Award Best Actor A Native of Beijing in New York [42]
1996 33rd Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards Best Director In the Heat of the Sun [43]
Best Original Screenplay
1998 17th Hong Kong Film Awards Best Supporting Actor The Soong Sisters
2000 53rd Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize of the Jury Devils on the Doorstep
2001 54th Cannes Film Festival France Culture Award - Foreign Cineaste of the Year
2003 3rd Chinese Film Media Awards Best Actor The Missing Gun [44]
Most Popular Actor
12th Shanghai Film Critics Awards Best Actor
2004 4th Chinese Film Media Awards Most Popular Actor Warriors of Heaven and Earth [45]
11th Beijing College Student Film Festival Most Popular Actor [46]
2005 10th Golden Phoenix Awards Society Award [47]
2007 44th Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards Best Film Editing The Sun Also Rises [48]
2008 21st Tokyo International Film Festival Asian Film Award - Special Mention
2011 20th Shanghai Film Critics Awards Best Actor The Lost Bladesman [49]
48th Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards Best Original Screenplay Let the Bullets Fly [50]
11th Chinese Film Media Awards Best Director [51]
2012 3rd China Film Director's Guild Awards Best Director [52]
2014 17th Shanghai International Film Festival Outstanding Contribution Award N/A [53]

[54] [55]

References[edit]

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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)

External links[edit]