Wang Xiaoshuai

Wang Xiaoshuai
Wang Xiaoshuai-2120.jpg
Wang Xiaoshuai at the Berlinale 2019
Born (1966-05-22) May 22, 1966 (age 54)
Occupation Film director, screenwriter, actor, film producer
Years active 1993-present
Awards Golden Alexander
1993 The Days
Silver Bear - Jury Grand Prix
2001 Beijing Bicycle
Jury Prize
2005 Shanghai Dreams
Silver Bear for Best Screenplay
2008 In Love We Trust
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 王小帥
Simplified Chinese 王小帅

Wang Xiaoshuai (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: 王小帥; pinyin: Wáng Xiăoshuài; born May 22, 1966) is a Chinese film director, screenwriter and occasional actor. He is commonly grouped under the loose association of filmmakers known as the "Sixth Generation" of the Cinema of China.[1]. Like others in this generation, and in contrast with earlier Chinese filmmakers who produced mostly historical drama, Wang proposed a “new urban Chinese cinema [that] has been mainly concerned with bearing witness of a fast- paced transforming China and producing a localized critique of globalization.”[2]

Many of Wang's works are known for their sensitive portrayal of teens and youths, most notable in films such as Beijing Bicycle, So Close to Paradise, Drifters, and Shanghai Dreams. His 2008 film In Love We Trust was an exception as it portrays marital strains.

In 2010 Wang was appointed a chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.[3] He also served as a member of the jury of the BigScreen Italia Film Festival 2006, held in Kunming, Yunnan, China.

Early life

Wang Xiaoshuai was born in 1966 in Shanghai but spent the first thirteen years of his life in Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou in southwestern China as a result of upheaval during the Cultural Revolution. While in Guiyang, Wang became interested in and began studying painting.[4] By 1979, he and his family had moved to Wuhan. When he was 15, Wang moved to Beijing where he attended the Central Art Academy Middle School to study painting before eventually studying directing at the Beijing Film Academy.[1]


Early works

After his graduation from the Beijing Film Academy, Wang spent some time working under the PRC studio system before starting out on his own. His first film, The Days (1993), was an independent feature shot on the weekends in Beijing and starring Wang’s friends as two artists.[1] The film did well overseas, where it announced Wang as a major new voice, but it also caught the wrath of the Chinese authorities, who included Wang in its sweeping ban on six filmmakers (including Tian Zhuangzhuang, Zhang Yuan, and He Jianjun) in April 1994.[5] As a result, Wang followed up The Days with another foray into the art world of Beijing using the moniker "Wu Ming" (literally, "no name" or "anonymous"). Entitled Frozen, the film was shot in 1994 but not released until 1997.

After a lengthy period of self-criticism, Wang was finally allowed to start making films again.[6] In contrast to both Frozen and The Days, which both took place in Beijing, Wang’s next film, So Close to Paradise (1998), saw him return to his childhood home of Wuhan to film a story of two migrant workers who become involved in a kidnapping. So Close to Paradise also marked the first time Wang operated under the Chinese movie-making authorities, but even then, the film was subject to multiple acts of censorship,[6] and it ultimately received a very limited release in China only after many years had passed.[7]

Wang followed up Paradise with the family comedy The House in 1999. Lost to obscurity, The House was essentially Wang's apology to the Beijing Film Studio for the bureaucratic morass that marked the release of So Close to Paradise. Wang decided to direct a simplistic comedy, one that would be sure to pass the censors with a minimum of fuss.[8]

International success

Despite the numerous films to his credit at this point, it was not until Beijing Bicycle that Wang rose to truly international success.[1] The winner of the Silver Bear Jury Grand Prix at the Berlin Film Festival,[9] Beijing Bicycle wowed critics with its story of a youth's search for his stolen bicycle, particularly with its shades of Vittorio De Sica's 1948 Bicycle Thieves.[10][11]

After the success of Beijing Bicycle, Wang made Drifters (2003) which screened at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival in competition for the Prix Un Certain Regard,[12] though it didn't win any prizes. Shanghai Dreams (2005), however, managed to win Cannes's Prix du Jury award.[13]

2008 saw the premiere of Wang's film, In Love We Trust (also known as Left Right) in the Berlin Film Festival, a modern drama about a divorced couple, where it would win a Silver Bear for Best Screenplay.[14] Wang's next project, 11 Flowers recently won the Pusan Promotion Prize or PPP for $20,000.[15]

In 2010 Wang was appointed a chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.[3]


As director

Year English title Chinese title Pinyin Notes
1993 The Days 冬春的日子 Dōng chūn de rì zì
1997 Frozen Jí dù hán lěng Made under the pseudonym Wu Ming
1998 So Close to Paradise 扁担·姑娘 Biǎn dān, gū niáng Also known as Ruan's Song
1999 The House 梦幻田园 Mèng huàn tián yuán Also known as Suburban Dreams or Fantasy Garden
2001 Beijing Bicycle 十七岁的单车 Shí qī suì de dān chē
2002 "The New Year" Part of the Korean anthology film, After War
2003 Drifters 二弟 Èr dì
2005 Shanghai Dreams 青红 Qīng hóng
2008 In Love We Trust 左右 Zuǒ yòu
2010 Chongqing Blues 日照重慶 Rìzhào chóngqìng
2011 11 Flowers 我十一 (stylized as 我11) Wǒ shíyī
2014 Red Amnesia 闖入者 Chuǎngrù zhě
2018 Chinese Portrait 我的镜头 Wǒ de jìngtóu
2019 So Long, My Son 地久天长 Dì jiǔ tiān cháng

As actor

As producer

Year Title Director
2017 Old Beast Zhou Ziyang


  1. ^ a b c d Kochan, Dror (September 2003). "Wang Xiaoshuai". Senses of Cinema. Archived from the original on 2007-07-03. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
  2. ^ Erik Bordeleau, “Surviving to Oneself after Tiananmen: Wang Xiaoshuai’ s Frozen (1996)”, Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 40(2014): 105–124 (106).
  3. ^ a b "Décoration de Wang Xiaoshuai". French Embassy in China. Archived from the original on 2013-02-23. Retrieved 2012-05-20.
  4. ^ Li Xiao and Daragh Moller. "A Trip Through Wang Xiaoshuai's Film World". Retrieved 2007-07-29.
  5. ^ Halligan, Fionnuala (1994-05-30). "In Surprise Move, Ministry Issues Blacklist: A Crackdown on Filmmakers". The International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  6. ^ a b Berry, Michael (2005). "Wang Xiaoshuai: Banned in China" in Speaking in Images: Interviews With Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers, p. 171. ISBN 0-231-13330-8. Google Book Search. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  7. ^ Berry, 164-65.
  8. ^ Berry, p. 178.
  9. ^ Hernandez, Eugene (2001-02-20). "Berlin Winners; Florida Fest Swamp Prize". Indie-Wire. Archived from the original on October 19, 2006. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  10. ^ Rose, S. (2002-08-01). "The great fall of China". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  11. ^ Sterritt, D. (2002-02-08). "A tale of two boys, one bicycle, reveals Chinese society". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  12. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Drifters". Retrieved 2009-11-07.
  13. ^ Elley, Derek (2005-05-21). "Cannes wild about 'Child'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  14. ^ Hickley, Catherine (2008-02-16). "Brazilian Film `Elite Squad' Wins Top Berlin Award". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
  15. ^ Schilling, Mark (2007-10-12). "Wang wins top prize at PPP closing". Variety. Archived from the original on 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2007-10-12.

External links