Speaking in Images


“I always compare filmmaking to cooking. Shooting is like buying the groceries. You buy all kinds of ingredients and the better ingredients you get, the better chance you have of making the movie you want.”—Ang Lee, from Speaking in Images

Speaking in Images offers an engaging and rare collection of interviews with the directors who have changed the face of Chinese and international cinema. Michael Berry’s discussions with such directors as Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Zhang Yimou (Hero), Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine), Stanley Kwan (Lan Yu), Tsai Ming-Liang (Vive l’Amour), Edward Yang (Yi Yi), and Hou Hsiao-hsien (Flowers of Shanghai) offer an eclectic and comprehensive portrait of contemporary Chinese cinema.

In interviews that capture each filmmaker’s unique vision, the subjects discuss their formative years, the ideas and influences that shaped their work, film aesthetics, battles with censors and studios, the mingling of commercial and art film, and the future of Chinese cinema in a transnational context. Berry’s introduction to the collection provides an overview of Chinese cinema in the second half of the twentieth century, placing the directors and their work in a wider historical and cultural context.


Columbia University Press, 2005