films seen
15
average score
3.03*
nationality
China - 63 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Feng helped usher in a new era for Chinese cinema, moving it away from rural drama to urban genre. He may not be the most unique, gifted or artistic of directors, but his oeuvre holds some pretty nifty, often undiscovered gems.

Rare treats

The Banquet

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Ye Yan
Specifics
2006 / 131m - China
Genre
Martial Arts
More info:
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
The Banquet poster

If you can stomach the classic tragedy, a world of unmatched cinematographic beauty opens itself and provides one of the most stunningly beautiful action films ever released.

Solid pieces

If You Are the One 2

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Fei Cheng Wu Rao 2
Specifics
2010 / 120m - China
Genre
Comedy, Romance
More info:
rating
3.5*/5.0*
If You Are the One 2 poster

If You Are the One

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Fei Cheng Wu Rao
Specifics
2008 / 130m - China
Genre
Comedy, Romance
More info:
rating
3.5*/5.0*
If You Are the One poster

Be There or Be Square

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Bu Jian Bu San
Specifics
1998 / 103m - China
Genre
Comedy, Romance
More info:
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Be There or Be Square poster

The inoffensive

Only Cloud Knows

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Zhi You Yun Zhi Dao
Specifics
2019 / 132m - China
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info:
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Only Cloud Knows poster

Xiaogang Feng's latest appears to be a manipulative dramatic romance (and it truly is), but the fact that the story is based on people Feng knew in real life at least gives him somewhat of an excuse. Not that it suddenly adds a ton of extra layers and dramatic weight, it's just the knowledge that the plot isn't completely tailored to be the biggest tearjerker possible.

After Simon's wife dies, he takes her ashes to visit all the places she held dearest. During his trip we see flashbacks of the couple. The way they met each other, where they built up their lives together (rural New Zealand is a beautiful place) and how tragedy cut down their time together short.

Feng goes a little overboard with the music and the cinematography is a little too cheesy, but the performances are nice, the direction is effective and even though the runtime's just a little excessive, it never gets dull. People who dislike romance shouldn't even attempt to come near this one, but otherwise it's not a bad film.

I Am Not Madame Bovary

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Wo Bu Shi Pan Jin Lian
Specifics
2016 / 128m - China
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info:
rating
3.0*/5.0*
I Am Not Madame Bovary poster

Back to 1942

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Yi Jiu Si Er
Specifics
2012 / 145m - China
Genre
War
More info:
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Back to 1942 poster

Aftershock

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Tangshan Dadizhen
Specifics
2010 / 135m - China
Genre
Drama
More info:
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Aftershock poster

Big Shot's Funeral

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Da Wan
Specifics
2001 / 103m - China, Hong Kong
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info:
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Big Shot's Funeral poster

Sorry Baby

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Mei Wan Mei Liao
Specifics
1999 / 95m - China
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info:
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Sorry Baby poster

Trademark mix of comedy and drama that brought fame to Xiaogang Feng, not in the least because of how different it was from other Chinese films at that time. Not a very remarkable film otherwise, but good fun nonetheless, with decent performances, a funny script and solid ending. Feng rarely disappoints.

The Dream Factory

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Jia Fang Yi Fang
Specifics
1997 / 90m - China
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info:
rating
3.0*/5.0*
The Dream Factory poster

One of Xiaogang Feng's earliest films. Feng has been a crucial element in the rebranding of Chinese cinema. He was one of the first directors to move away from the countryside, introducing more uplifting urban stories and more contemporary characters. The Dream Factory is a good example of this evolution.

Four friends start a little company, where they help people act out their dreams. The four do a little intake of their client's wishes, after which they start writing scenarios and perform them together with the client. It's a job that won't make them rich, but as their company grows they learn a lot about the people they help out.

You Ge is no doubt the star of the film, but it's nice to see Feng himself in a supporting role. The performances are solid, the assignments are fun and the pacing is solid. It does get a little repetitive after a while and Feng's direction isn't that remarkable, but it's a decent film that serves as an important milestone for Chinese cinema.

Worthy but flawed

Assembly

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Ji Jie Hao
Specifics
2007 / 124m - China, Hong Kong
Genre
Drama, War
More info:
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Assembly poster

Cell Phone

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Shou Ji
Specifics
2003 / 107m - China
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info:
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Cell Phone poster

A Sigh

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Yi Sheng Tan Xi
Specifics
2000 / 111m - China
Genre
Drama, Romance, Family
More info:
rating
2.5*/5.0*
A Sigh poster

Early Xiaogang Feng that is surprisingly traditional. A Sigh a romantic drama featuring a lot of torn and broken characters. The love triangle is nothing new, neither is the execution. It's not bad, but I've come to expect more from Feng, plenty of others could've directed this film and the outcome would've been just the same.

Dubious filler

Youth

by Xiaogang Feng
Also known as
Fang Hua
Specifics
2017 / 135m - China
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info:
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Youth poster

A pretty disappointing film from Feng, which oddly mimics the kind of cinema he helped China to move away from some 20 years ago. Youth reminded me of a film Yimou Zhang could have made during the 90s, only without the natural grace and visual splendor that made Zhang's films stand out.

Youth follows Xiaoping, a young country bumpkin joining a military dance troupe in the hope of finding some respect and appreciation. It doesn't take long before the bullying starts though and when the war erupts she is sent to a frontline hospital to tend to the wounded soldiers. Unfazed, she accepts her destiny and becomes an overnight hero.

Visually I expected more from Feng. The film doesn't look bad, but there are few memorable moments, even though it's clear the budget wasn't lacking. Actors do a decent job, but there are no stand-out performances. It's the score that is by far the weakest element though. It's loud and saccharine, leaving a bitter aftertaste. While not terrible, Youth simple isn't good enough for a director like Feng.