During the 10 years of China's Cultural Revolution, the only culture allowed was [Yang Ban Xi] - propaganda operas. Based on traditional Chinese stories and adapted to the taste of Mao's wife, Jiang Qing Min, these eight operas presented the world in a much simpler way. All the good guys were farmers and revolutionary soldiers, singing and dancing in the broad spotlight. All the bad guys were landlords and anti-revolutionaries, with dark make-up. The operas were pure propaganda told in beautiful images, song and dance.
Although Madame Mao was ultimately convicted as a member of the Gang of Four and committed suicide in prison, the operas have recently regained popularity with the younger generation, who see them as a marvellous mixture of high and low culture.
Exquisite original footage of the [Yang Ban Xi], combined with interviews with those who played in them at the time and contemporary performances, open a window into present-day urban China and its burgeoning cultural scene, and make for a captivating film.
D/S Yang Ting Yuen P Hetty Naaljkens-Retel Helmrich WS Films Transit L Chinese w/English subtitles TD HDcam/col/2005/83mins
Yang Ting Yuen was born in Hong Kong in 1967. Her films are [Life behind the Serving Hatch] (2001), [Yang Ban Xi] (MIFF 05).