Filmmaker Zhang Yimou returns for Olympic Games opening ceremony

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Chinese director Zhang Yimou
Image credit: Reuters

Famous Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou is promising a simpler opening ceremony for next month’s Beijing Winter Games with a bold and unprecedented way of lighting the Olympic flame.

Zhang, who led an impressive opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008, is returning in the same role for the 2022 Games, Chinese state media reported on Friday.

He told the state-run Xinhua News Agency that his team came up with a bold idea for the ignition of the flame and the design of the cauldron that is in line with environmental protection and low-carbon emissions.

“I think it’s totally innovative and people will be surprised,” he said, quoted by Xinhua.

The ceremony on Feb. 4 will bring together 3,000 artists, a sharp drop from 15,000 in 2008, and will last less than 100 minutes due to the cold and the COVID-19 pandemic, Xinhua said. It will be held at the National Bird’s Nest Stadium, the same corrugated trellis structure used for the 2008 Games.

Zhang told Xinhua that the theme of the ceremony will be different, saying times have changed and the world needs a new vision in the wake of the pandemic.

“In 2008, the Olympic Games were a brilliant stage and a chance for our country to show itself,” he said. “It’s different now. China’s status in the world, the image of the Chinese and the rise of our national status, everything is totally different now.

Zhang, who is around 70 years old, has made three films nominated for best foreign language film at the Oscars, including “Ju Dou” in 1990, “Raise the Red Lantern” in 1991 and “Hero” in 2003.


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