He will receive the award at the TIFF opening ceremony on October 23. After graduating from the Beijing Film Academy in 1982, he made his directorial debut with Red Sorghum (1987). Since then, he has tackled a wide range of film genres in work like The Story of Qiu Ju (1992), To Live (1994), The Road Home (1999), House of Flying Daggers (2004), The Great Wall (2016) and Cliff Walkers (2021).
Yimou’s latest work, Full River Red, was released during the Chinese New Year this year and is currently the highest-ranking 2023 Chinese film in the country. The film has also been selected as part of the Gala Selection section at this year’s TIFF. As part of his time in Tokyo, Yimou will take part in a keynote session co-hosted by the Japan Foundation.
“I am very honored to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award. Cinema can serve as a bridge connecting people from around the world and promote exchange and mutual understanding that transcends ethnicity and culture,” Yimou said.
“There is one thing I still remember: When Kurosawa Akira received an Academy Honorary Award in 1990, I was in the audience still as a fledgling filmmaker. His words in his speech, ‘I have not yet grasped the essence of cinema,’ are still fresh in my mind. I would like to express my gratitude to the Tokyo International Film Festival for presenting me with this award. I would also like to thank everyone for their encouragement and support. Considering this as one starting point, I will continue my efforts to understand the essence of cinema and make great films.”