Zhang Yimou’s ‘Impasse’ Sets China Release Date, Ramping Up Labor Day Competition

Rebecca Davis
·2-min read

Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s stylish, snowy spy thriller “Impasse” is set to debut in China over the May 1 Labor Day weekend, joining what will be an unusually competitive line-up.

“Impasse” was supposed to hit screens last year, but its release was pushed back to this upcoming April 30 due to the pandemic. Starring Zhang Yi (“Operation Red Sea”), Yu Hewei (“A Writer’s Odyssey”), Qin Hailu (“White Deer Plain”) and Zhu Yawen (“The Witness”), the 1930s-set story tells the tale of four Chinese agents specially trained in the Soviet Union who parachute into the puppet state of Manchukuo, as northeast China was called under Japanese rule, to carry out a secret operation — only to discover they’ve been set up in a trap.

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Including “Impasse,” six strong titles are now set to debut over the three-day holiday.

Three will premiere alongside Zhang’s latest on Friday, April 30: video game adaptation “Dynasty Warriors,” TV series adaptation “Schemes in Antiques,” and the Joan Chen, Li Shaohong, and Sylvia Chang-directed omnibus film “Hero,” which tells the stories of Chinese women during the pandemic.

On Saturday, two more will hit screens: Aaron Kwok-starring thriller “Home Sweet Home” and “Tiger Robbers,” director Li Yu’s first film since 2007 that doesn’t star Fan Bingbing.

Local films are increasingly fighting to release over holiday periods, when movie-going will be a prime activity for audiences still wary of travel due to the pandemic. This has historically meant, however, that only one or two break out as box office hits, as the others cannibalize each other’s viewers.

Zhang Yimou is currently at work co-directing a Korean War-set film with his daughter whose title translates to “Sniper,” eyeing an October release. His censored but ultimately approved “One Second” finally debuted in late November, grossing $10.6 million.

Watch the tense trailer for “Impasse” below.

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