Zhang plans China anniversary film


HONG KONG -- "Raise the Red Lantern" director Zhang Yimou plans to make a movie marking the 60th anniversary of communist China, cementing his shift from a dissident to a government-favored artist.

Zhang is still working on the script for the film, China Central Television reported Wednesday.

Zhang designed the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in August, and was earlier chosen by the government as the director of a gala celebrating the People's Republic of China's 60th anniversary on Oct. 1.

The 59-year-old filmmaker, who has told unflinching stories about hardships during China's turbulent 20th century, was once considered a troublemaker and had several of his movies banned.

In recent years, Zhang moved on to more commercial fare including the kung fu films "Hero" and "House of Flying Daggers." His last movie was the 2006 historical epic "Curse of the Golden Flower," starring Chow Yun-fat and Gong Li.

Zhang's assistant, Pang Liwei, told the Associated Press in a phone interview that the director is considering three or four scripts, but hasn't decided which movie to make. She declined to reveal their subject matter and wouldn't say whether the decision was related to the 60th anniversary.

"The script must meet the director's requirements. Nothing has been decided," Pang said.