|Born||1961 (age 58–59)|
|Occupation||Cinematographer/Director of Photography|
|Awards||LAFCA Award for Best Cinematography|
1992 Raise the Red Lantern
NSFC Award for Best Cinematography
1993 Raise the Red Lantern
Golden Deer for Best Cinematography
2008 The Sun Also RisesGolden Rooster Awards - Best Cinematography
1999 The Emperor and the Assassin
Zhao Fei (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: , Mandarin pronunciation: [?u? féi?]; born 1961) is a Chinese cinematographer and frequent collaborator to many directors of the China's so called "fifth generation" film movement. Zhao also served as Woody Allen's director of photography for three films between 1998 and 2001.
Born in 1961 in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, Zhao was the son of an architect. Growing up during the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution, Zhao began his career in film when he applied to the newly reopened Beijing Film Academy in 1978. Zhao would study cinematography and graduate in 1982 with others of the so-called "fifth generation" including directors Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou, and Tian Zhuangzhuang.
Working throughout the 1980s, Zhao would act as the director of photography ("DOP") for Tian Zhuangzhuang's The Horse Thief, Huang Jianxin's Samsara, and others. In 1991, Zhao worked with director Zhang Yimou on his magnum opus, Raise the Red Lantern. For Zhao, the production of Raise the Red Lantern was a major turning point, allowing him to synthesize his previous experiences with painting and art and his current responsibilities as a cinematographer.
By the late 1990s, Zhao had built up an impressive resume, but little would prepare him for the working with Chen Kaige on his historical epic The Emperor and the Assassin. Chen specifically asked for Zhao to work as the DOP for the project, realizing that the ambitious scope of the film would need someone who was disciplined but resourceful. Zhao's work on The Emperor and the Assassin would take up months and then years, and required Zhao to research historical castles, fortifications, and the minutiae of China's Warring States period. The actual production was equally intense, as Zhao would often have to create makeshift dollies and other contraptions to capture shots.
By this point, Zhao's work in China had caught the eye of international filmmakers, and Zhao would serve as the DOP for three of American director Woody Allen's films, beginning with Sweet and Lowdown. Allen had first noticed Zhao's work from Raise the Red Lantern, though Zhao claims that he is unsure why Allen selected him. The production on Sweet and Lowdown was difficult at times, given Zhao's lack of English-speaking abilities and the difficulties of keeping a translator on set at all times. But both Zhao and Allen walked away from the experience pleased with the collaboration, and Zhao would work with Allen on two more films. Allen, himself, praised the Chinese cinematographer, comparing Zhao favorably with Allen's past DOPs, including Carlo Di Palma, Gordon Willis, and Sven Nykvist.
|Year||English Title||Chinese Title||Director||Notes|
|1986||The Horse Thief||Tian Zhuangzhuang||With Hou Yong|
|1987||Death Visits the Living||?||Huang Jianzhong|
|1988||Unforgettable Life||Tian Zhuangzhuang|
|1991||Li Lianying: The Imperial Eunuch||Tian Zhuangzhuang|
|1992||Raise the Red Lantern||?||Zhang Yimou||Winner of the 1993 National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography|
Winner of the 1992 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
|1995||Forbidden City: The Great Within||N/A||Documentary for the Discovery Channel|
|1995||Sweet Grass||Zhou Youchou|
|1996||The Sun Has Ears||?||Yim Ho|
|1997||Dragon Town Story||?||Yang Fengliang|
|1997||Concerto of Life||?||Xia Gang|
|1998||Be There or Be Square||?||Feng Xiaogang|
|1998||The Emperor and the Assassin||Chen Kaige||Winner of the 1999 Golden Rooster for Best Cinematography|
|1999||Sweet and Lowdown||N/A||Woody Allen|
|2000||Small Time Crooks||N/A||Woody Allen|
|2001||The Curse of the Jade Scorpion||N/A||Woody Allen|
|2003||Warriors of Heaven and Earth||?||He Ping|
|2003||Cell Phone||Feng Xiaogang|
|2007||The Sun Also Rises||Jiang Wen||With Lee Ping-bing and Yang Tao|
|2009||Iron Men||Yin Li|
|2010||Let the Bullets Fly||?||Jiang Wen|
|2012||Guns and Roses||Ning Hao|
|2014||The Crossing||John Woo|
|2015||The Left Ear||Alec Su|