NPR profiles Zhang Yimou and his new film, a remake of the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple:
Zhang Yimou has undergone a dramatic transformation, from art-house auteur of the early 1990s to the man who orchestrated the spectacular Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing.
Now, in his first film since the Olympics, his work has taken yet another direction, with a radical remake of Blood Simple, the 1984 Joel and Ethan Coen film.
The Coen brothers film is a nerve-jangling noir thriller set in a Texas bar. The story revolves around the chain of events when a good-for-nothing bar owner hires a detective to kill his wife and her lover.
Zhang’s version, A Simple Noodle Story, transplants the action to a remote noodle shop in ancient China, leaving much of the storyline intact and using some identical shots.
Zhang, 58, says he set the story in the past for the sake of ease. “It’s more convenient setting it in ancient China. The level of freedom is greater. It’s not that easy to shoot contemporary material. Lots of things are forbidden,” Zhang says.
Watch a trailer for A Simple Noodle Story: