Director Zhang Yimou has dismissed criticism of Chinese film's shift to big-budget historical epics, saying China's unsophisticated movie theater system is to blame, the Associated Press reported on Monday.
Famed Chinese directors like Zhang and Chen Kaige have moved from films set in rural China or revolving around traditional Chinese culture to big-budget historical epics like Zhang's "House of Flying Daggers" and Chen's mythology "The Promise."
Zhang recently released "Curse of the Golden Flower," a lavish, even ostentatious, production about ancient imperial Chinese politics featuring Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li.
Some critics have said that such movies feature glamorous set production but little substance.
Asked about such criticism in an interview with the Chinese news Website Sina.com, whose transcript was posted today, Zhang said the source of the problem is that artistic and mainstream films in China are distributed via the same channels, unlike in other parts of the world.
"You don't see the anger toward big-budget films overseas. There are specialized art-house movie theater networks ... Every genre has its own rules. There isn't a question of who dominates. There isn't a question of survival or mutual exclusiveness," the director was quoted as saying.
Zhang added he doesn't spend time agonizing over the criticism directed toward Chinese big-budget movies.
"Our movie theater system isn't complete enough. When people don't like what I'm doing, I find it laughable," he said.