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Rock Solid Zhang Yimou

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2020: #79. Rock Solid – Zhang Yimou

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2020: #79. Rock Solid – Zhang Yimou

Rock Solid

Zhang Yimou has remained busier than ever. With 2018’s Shadow premiering out of competition at Venice and reaching theatrical release stateside in 2019, his One Second, yanked from the 2019 Berlinale premiere due to Chinese censorship issues, is still awaiting a premiere. In the meantime, Yimou has completed an urban gangster film, Rock Solid (aka Hard as a Rock), and then will be shooting , a wartime spy drama at the end of 2019 as well. Cast and crew have yet to be announced. Yimou received considerable critical backlash for his 2016 Matt Damon led Hollywood epic The Great Wall, but he is still best remembered for his action epics, such as the Jet Li headlined Hero (2002) and 2004’s House of Flying Daggers. However, Yimou remains one of China’s most formidable filmmakers, a Golden Bear winner and two-time Golden Lion winner, Yimou’s early works yielded considerable accolades. Competing in Berlin four times (Red Sorghum, 1988; The Road Home, 1999; Hero, 2002; A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop, 2009), he took home the Bear in 1988, the Jury Grand Prix in 2000 and the Alfred Bauer in 2002. Yimou has had his greatest success in Venice, where he won the Golden Lion in 1992 for The Story of Qiu Ju and in 1999 for Not One Less, the Silver Lion in 1991 for Raise the Red Lantern, and another competition entry in 1997 with Keep Cool. He’s competed three times in Cannes (Ju Dou, 1990; To Live, 1994; Shanghai Triad, 1995), winning Grand Prize of the Jury and Ecumenical Jury Prize in 1994 and the Technical Grand Prize in 1995. Lately, Yimou’s works have tended to be invited to out-of-comp slots, such as 2014’s Coming Home (read review) in Cannes and 2018’s Shadow in Venice.

MUBI World Cinema

Gist: Little is known about Rock Solid beyond Yimou’s comments in 2019 at Pingyao International Film Festival (PYIFF), which he described as a hardcore gangster film.

Release Date/Prediction: Rock Solid completed post-production and was sent to Chinese censors for approval in October 2019. While the fate of One Second may determine whether or not Berlin tries to program either one or both of Yimou titles, we anticipate Rock Solid to have a potential Cannes 2020 invite.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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