He Jianjun


He Jianjun
(a.k.a.He Yi)
b. 1960, Beijing
Film director
Among ‘Sixth-Generation’ directors (see Sixth Generation (film directors)), He Jianjun is the one most interested in exploring the dark side of human psyche. His movies are concerned with issues of repression and freedom, with the adjustment and survival of personality in a confined environment. Through stories of disturbed—and disturbing—individuals, his movies expand into a discourse about society at large. Not surprisingly, most of his movies have been banned in China.
He Jianjun graduated in 1990 from the Beijing Film Academy and started his career as assistant director to Zhang Yimou and Tian Zhuangzhuang before beginning to make short movies himself. His first full-length feature, Red Beads (Xuan lian, 1993), was inspired by the memory of a schoolmate who had become mentally unstable after reading the medical history of his unbalanced mother. It was shot in twelve days on a shoestring budget and won the Fipresci Award at the Rotterdam Film Festival. He’s second feature, another independent production, also received an award at Rotterdam. Postman (Youchai, 1995) is the story of a young postman who—in a society that does not value individual privacy—cannot resist the temptation to read other people’s letters and ends up interfering in other people’s lives. The movie widened the exposure of social malaise by touching on taboo subjects like incest, loneliness and suicide. With his subsequent movies, He has continued the exploration of human weakness and obsession in the context of contemporary urban culture.
MARIA BARBIERI

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.