Impression Lijiang Debutes

Updated: July 24, 2006 | Clicks: 3459

Women dressed in ethnic costumes perform in Impression LijiangThe second outdoor production of China's leading film director Zhang Yimou debuted on Sunday at the foot of Yulongxue (Jade Dragon Snow) Mountain in southwestern China.

Around 500 local people from 10 ethnic groups have been selected from 16 towns and villages in Lijiang of Yunnan Province to perform daily folk songs, dances and rituals for tourists.

The performance was "innovatively" staged in the morning, said Zhang, who spent two years producing this one-hour outdoor performance entitled "Impression Lijiang".

The performance began with more than 400 male performers in their traditional costumes of respective ethnic groups shouting to the sky "we are farmers, we are stars".

Unlike indoor or evening performances that can use lighting to cover up blemishes, an outdoor performance in full daylight allows no room for mistakes or "artistic decoration or artificial disguise", Zhang said.

"No one dared to put an outdoor performance at day time before, " Zhang said. "I made this decision after having wide-ranging investigation."

Zhang's assistant Wang Chaoge said this outdoor production has undergone hundreds of times of discussions and rehearsals before staged. All the songs and dances were artistically produced on the bases of folk people's daily life.

When his production was put into the final rehearsal two months ago, Zhang granted it 80 scores against 100. And this time, he said he was moved several times during the performance.

Zhang believes he has "accomplished a dialogue with nature" in this outdoor production.

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hang's another assistant Fan Yue said the success of the performance lied in the local custom and culture.

More than 99 percent of the audience interviewed said they had seen nothing like it before and almost all the audience was "moved" or "inspired", Fan said.

"The folk custom and culture of minority ethnic groups give me confidence to try outdoor performances," Zhang said.

"I am picky with my products," he said. "But this time I'm touched by the passion and warmth of the folk people, and 100 percent satisfied with their performance."

Impression Lijiang is estimated to have cost US$31 million in total. The performances at the foot of the snow-capped mountain are the first part, with the other part, called "Ancient City Impression", to be staged at the Dayan Ancient Town, a world heritage site.

Zhang, as a representative figure of the 5th generation directors in China, established his fame at the age of 37 for the "Red Sorghum" that vividly portraits Chinese farmers.

He has been active in directing other visual art in recent years.In 2003, Zhang, Wang and Fan created the first installment of their out-door "Impression" series, "Impression Liu Sanjie," in the mountain and river scenery of Yangshuo, a world-renowned scenic resort in south China, which proved a hit at the box office.

By the end of this June, the performance attracted more than one million audiences and annually turned in nearly 100 million yuan (around 12. US$5 million).

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In recent years, he was criticized as "stepping away from common life" for his martial arts films represented by "Hero".

"The outdoor performance gets me touched by the beauty of nature and land," Zhang said. His remarks echoed some insiders' saying that the outdoor performance has drawn him back.

News Source: Xinhua News

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