Wu Ziniu (born 31 October 1952), is a Chinese film director and a member of the "Fifth Generation" film movement, a movement of filmmakers who graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in the early 1980s.[1] Unlike his better-known contemporaries, Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, who made their names with historical dramas, Wu Ziniu is best known for his early war films.[1] His 1985 film on the Sino-Vietnamese War, Dove Tree, was the first film by a Fifth Generation director to be banned by the Chinese government.[1]

Wu Ziniu
Born (1952-10-31) 31 October 1952 (age 70)
Leshan, Sichuan, China
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter
Years active1980s–present
AwardsSilver Bear-Jury Grand Prix
1988 Evening BellGolden Rooster AwardsBest Director
1989 Evening Bell

Chinese name
Traditional Chinese吳子牛
Simplified Chinese吴子牛

Directorial careerEdit

A member of the 1982 graduating class of the Beijing Film Academy, Wu was assigned to the Xiaoxing Film Studio.[1] There he directed four films, including the children's film, The Candidate, the war films Secret Decree and Dove Tree, and the drama, The Last Day of Winter.[1] After The Last Day of Winter, Wu expanded to other studios, working with the August First Film Studio to produce the war film, Evening Bell, which, despite the heavy hand of censorship, managed to win several international awards, including the Silver Bear - Special Jury Prize at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival.[1][2]

Throughout the late 1980s, Wu would continue to direct films, often highlighting the brutality of war and the effect on civilians, as in 1988's Joyous Heroes and its sequel Between Life and Death.[1] With the 1990s, Wu would draw on foreign capital, primarily from Hong Kong to help produce his historical films Sparkling Fox and The Big Mill.[1]



Year Title Notes
1983 The Candidate
Directorial debut; co-directed with Chen Lu; also known as A Probation Member
1984 Secret Decree
Co-directed with Li Jingmin
1985 Dove Tree
1986 The Last Day of Winter
1988 Evening Bell
1988 Joyous Heroes
Also known as To Die Like a Man
1988 Between Life and Death
1990 The Big Mill
1992 Mountains of the Sun
1993 Sparkling Fox
Won an Honourable Mention at the 44th Berlin International Film Festival[3]
1995 Don't Cry, Nanking
Also known as Nanking 1937
1999 The National Anthem
2000 The Sino-Dutch War 1661
Also known as Hero Zheng Chenggong


Year Title Notes
2005 Carol of Zhenguan
Also known as The Story of Zhen Guan
2007 Ming Dynasty
2017 Yu Chenglong


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Zhang, Yingjin & Xiao, Zhiwei (1998). Encyclopedia of Chinese Film. Taylor & Francis, p. 372. ISBN 0-415-15168-6.
  2. ^ "Berlinale: 1989 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  3. ^ "Berlinale: 1994 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2011-06-15.

External linksEdit