Sunday, January 11, 2009

Video: China - Presenting River Elegy

From Wikipedia:
River Elegy (Chinese: 河殇; Pinyin: Héshāng) was a six-part documentary shown on China Central Television in 1988 that announced the death of traditional Chinese civilization. The series was strongly supported by the Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang. It was subsequently denounced by the Communist Party of China and cited as a source of the 1989 Tiannamen Square Massacre. Zhao was consequently ousted and the documentary's scriptwriter, Su Xiaokang, became a wanted man and went into exile to Hong Kong. [Read more]

This epic television series initiated a whirlwind of discussion and debate when it was first broadcast to a national audience in China in 1988. Excerpts from a six part Chinese documentary series: Xia Jun/director; Su Xiaokang and Wang Luxiang/script.Made in the period of maximum openness and press freedom, it utilized an experimental and expressive text and score to review China's past and future prospects. Subsequently banned, its scriptwriter was among the most wanted intellectuals after the June 1989 student movement.

The series was structured in six parts: In Search of the Dream, Destiny, The Spark, Sorrow and Sky Blue, which trace the origins of Chinese culture to the well spring of the Yellow River. The text abounds in dialectical irony and reflective wit, while the visual images flow by in a post-modern pastiche that is anchored by the depth and passion of the script. The program's almost reckless demystification of the prevailing Chinese cultural icons, such as the dragon mascot, the Great Wall, Mao and Marx is contrasted with its lavishly uncritical embracing of Western capitalism. Curated by Mi Ling Tsui (China/USA).

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