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Where EAST meets the Northwest


Asian Reporter web extra, January 25, 2022

Renowned Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou poses for photographers at the premiere of the film Shadow at the 75th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy, in this September 6, 2018 file photo. Zhang is promising a simpler opening ceremony for Februaryís Beijing Winter Games with a bold and unprecedented way of lighting the Olympic flame. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

Filmmaker Zhang Yimou returns for Olympics opening ceremony

BEIJING (AP) ó Renowned Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou is promising a simpler opening ceremony for Februaryís Beijing Winter Games with a bold and unprecedented way of lighting the Olympic flame.

Zhang, who directed an awe-inspiring opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008, is returning in the same role for the 2022 Games, according to Chinese state media.

He told the official Xinhua News Agency that his team has come up with a bold idea for the lighting of the flame and the design of the cauldron that is in line with environmental protection and low-carbon emissions.

"I think itís totally innovative and people will be surprised," he was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

The February 4 ceremony will have 3,000 performers, a sharp drop from 15,000 in 2008, and last less than 100 minutes because of the cold weather and the COVID-19 pandemic, Xinhua said. It will be held at the "Birdís Nest" National Stadium, the same wavy, latticed structure used for the 2008 Games.

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

"In 2008, the Olympics was a brilliant stage and chance for our country to show ourselves," he said. "Itís different now. Chinaís status in the world, the image of the Chinese, and the rise of our national status, everything is totally different now."

Zhang, who is about 70 years old, directed three films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards including Ju Dou in 1990, Raise the Red Lantern in 1991, and Hero in 2003.

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