films seen
average score
China - 59 years old
Alive and kicking
more info

One of the directors who pulled Chinese cinema out of rural drama slump and gave it a more urban/contemporary feel. Lou's oeuvre consists of quality dramas, an essential director if you care about Chinese cinema.


The Shadow Play

by Ye Lou
Diyu Lianren
2018 / 125m - China
Thriller, Crime
The Shadow Play poster

The Shadow Play sees Ye Lou return to his former glory. The bold style will surely put some people off, but I'm glad he said farewell to the more classical arthouse fare he's been making for the past couple of years. A fun crime flick brought to life with strong colours, shadowy figures and pumped up camera work. This was quite a thrill.

Suzhou River

by Ye Lou
Suzhou He
2000 / 83m - China
Romance, Mystery
Suzhou River poster

One of the pivotal films that moved Chinese cinema away from the countryside and into the cities. Suzhou River has aged quite a bit, which is normal for any film standing at the roots of a big revolution, but the core appeal is still there. Fine cinematography, strong performances and a mysterious romance. A must see.

Summer Palace

by Ye Lou
Yihe Yuan
2006 / 158m - China
Drama, Romance
Summer Palace poster

Don't Be Young

by Ye Lou
Wei Qing Shao Nu
1994 / 101m - China
Don't Be Young poster

Ye Lou's first, clearly the work of someone still figuring out his own identity. Don't Be Young is a surprisingly fun, creative and atmospheric genre film, but it lacks the hand of a seasoned director and it can't quite compensate with its youthful enthusiasm. The talent was already there though.

Purple Butterfly

by Ye Lou
Zi Hudie
2003 / 127m - China
Drama, War
Purple Butterfly poster

Ye Lou with a more traditional film. I saw this rather early on in my exploration of Asian cinema, which explains why back then this setting felt pretty novel. With so many contemporary Chinese films harking back to that exact point in time, I wasn't quite as enamored with Purple Butterfly the second time around.

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The Purple Butterfly was a resistance group that tried to fight the Japanese occupation of Shanghai. Ding Hui is a member of the group. When she is reunited with an ex-boyfriend she doesn't suspect any foul, what she doesn't know is that he is tasked with weeding out the Purple Butterfly members.

Le goes for a noirish take on the genre. There's lots of rain, many a dark alley, and plenty of shady deals. The cinematography is proper, the performances are solid and the score is pleasant, but there are many similar films out there and Purple Butterfly doesn't do quite enough to set itself apart. It's a good film, just not the masterpiece I once thought it to be.

Blind Massage

by Ye Lou
Tui Na
2014 / 114m - China
Blind Massage poster


by Ye Lou
Fu Cheng Mi Shi
2012 / 98m - China
Drama, Crime
Mystery poster

Weekend Lover

by Ye Lou
Zhou Mo Qing Ren
1993 / 98m - China
Weekend Lover poster

This is where it all started for Ye Lou, which means Weekend Lover is also at the source of contemporary Chinese cinema. While still very unpolished and rough around the edges, it's already clear this is quite different from what the 6th Generation stood for, even though they were still doing very well around that time.

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Weekend Lover serves a pretty basic urban love triangle. A battle for the hand of a young woman, between a rebellious type and the singer of a band. The two are madly in love with Xi Ling and unwilling to back down. The rivalry slowly escalates, with Ling caught between two passionate men who promise her the world.

The urban setting, the contemporary soundtrack and the focus on a more genre-based narrative (over social drama) signal the future of Chinese cinema. The film could do with a restoration, the performances aren't that great and the romantic woes are a little basic, but Lou's talent is already visible and there are a few poignant, memorable moments.

Saturday Fiction

by Ye Lou
Lan Xin Da Ju Yuan
2019 / 126m - China
Saturday Fiction poster

Ye Lou's take on film-noir. It's a bit of a surprise to see him do an almost straight-up genre film, though his can't quite leave his arthouse aesthetics behind. While that sounds interesting on paper, the result is not as slick as I would've hoped, with the action/crime elements in particular feeling out of place.

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Jin is an actress who works as an undercover agent for the people of Shanghai. She discovers Japan's plan to attack Pearl Harbor, but her life gets a lot more complicated when the Japanese try to get Jin on their team. Romance, betrayal, shady figures in dark allies, all the usual noir elements are present here.

The cast is exceptional (with Gong Li and Joe Odagiri leading the pack) and the blue/gray monochrome filter looks attractive enough, but the cinematography feels a little lazy, the action doesn't translate, and the films runs a little too long. One of Lou's weaker efforts, a shame considering how great The Shadow Play was.

Spring Fever

by Ye Lou
Chun Feng Chen Zui De Ye Wan
2009 / 116m - China
Spring Fever poster