Feng Xiaogang (冯小刚; born 18 March 1958 in Beijing) is a film director, screenwriter and actor. He is well-known in China as a highly successful commercial filmmaker whose comedy films do consistently well at the box office.
The son of a college professor and a factory nurse, Xiaogang joined the Beijing Military Region Art Troupe as a stage designer after high school. He began his cinema career as an art designer in the Beijing Television Art Center in 1985. Later, he moved on to write screenplays. During this period, he worked closely with director Zheng Xiaolong and writer Wang Shuo.
In the late 1990s, Xiaogang established himself in a Chinese genre called “Hesui Pian (贺岁片)”, or “New Year’s Celebration Films.” He became famous as the director of the movie The Dream Factory (1997). Jason McGrath, a University of Minnesota professor, believed that, having achieved success within mainland China in the face of Hollywood competition, “The entertainment cinema of Feng Xiaogang represents a new model of a Chinese national cinema that positions itself vis-à-vis Hollywood.”
Xiaogang is renowned for making comedies in the Beijing dialect. Almost all of his films star Ge You in a leading role. In recent years, he has transitioned from solely making comedies to directing drama and period drama movies.
He married actress Xu Fan in 1999.
Chinese Director Feng Xiaogang Survives Attacks on His Reputation
For a man with a reputation as a critical voice, leading Chinese director Feng Xiaogang has been remarkably quiet of late. His latest film “Youth” premiered in Toronto, but at the end of September was removed from the releasing calendar in China at the last minute. There was barely a murmur, either from the industry regulators or from Feng.
“After discussions with the film bureau and other related parties, ‘Youth’ intends to accept recommendations and change its release date,” his company said blankly on social media.
A Feng film is always an event — he has enjoyed unparalleled critical and commercial success with films including “Aftershock” and “Cellphone” — and “Youth” had been positioned to be one of the major releases of the Oct 1st National Day holiday week. So, it suddenly being pulled was a big deal.
– PATRICK FRATER
Feng Xiaogang starts shooting ‘Cell Phone 2’
Ge You and Fan Bingbing again head the cast of the film, which also includes Zhang Guoli, Xu Fan and Fan Wei. The script is written by Feng’s long-time collaborator Liu Zhenyun, who also wrote the original Cell Phoneand Feng’s I Am Not Madame Bovaryand Back To 1942.
Set before the era of the smartphone, the original film told the story of a media executive whose extra-marital affair is revealed by his mobile phone. In a statement released to Chinese press, Feng said he wanted to take a comedic look at how mobile phones now more closely infiltrate people’s lives.
“Science and technology are advancing with each passing day, but the weakness of human nature remains unchanged,” said Feng. “Fifteen years have passed – old friends are reunited and old friendships are renewed.”
– LIZ SHACKLETON
Feng Xiaogang Finally Responds to Cui Yongyuan Over “Yin-Yang Contracts” Scandal
After more than a month of stoney silence over the “yin-yang contracts” scandal and accusations of tax evasion against Fan Bingbing that rocked the Chinese film industry, one of the central figures in the story, seasoned director Feng Xiaogang, has finally responded.
The story began back at the start of June when TV host and self-styled truth talker Cui Yongyuan published photos of contacts on his Weibo account which he said showed a star signing two separate contracts with a film studio in order to circumvent taxes on millions of RMB in payments.
The authorities responded by saying that investigations were being launched and last week regulators railed against “unreasonable” pay packets, “money worship”, and the “distortion of social values” in the wake of the scandal.
Yet Cui continued to push for more answers, and in particular seemed to be taking aim at Feng, the director of a film which is widely thought to be based on Cui’s life and which doesn’t exactly portray the TV host in the best light.
– Jake Newby