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Chicago enjoys the wonder of China

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-02-04 08:28

About 100 people gathered in the Claudia Cassidy Theater of the Cultural Center in downtown Chicago on Saturday to watch four short documentary films about Chinese culture and photography.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema, a semiannual Asian film festival, presented the program, which was part of the citywide Chinese New Year celebration in the third largest city of the United States.

"This is our fifth year to participate in the citywide Chinese New Year celebration," Sophia Wong Boccio, founder of the film festival, says.

The four documentaries showcased were selected from the Wonder of China documentary series. Each lasting 30 minutes, the films present the different cultures and landscapes of China. "They were produced by the China Broad View Cultural Communication Center in Beijing," Boccio says.

Wudang Tai Chi is about Taoism-derived Chinese martial art that emphasizes not only kung fu movements, but also the harmony between humanity and nature, whereas The Legend of Shadow Puppetry is about the performance art that has been passed on for generations.

Amazing Music from Nature showcases Khoomei, a traditional Mongolian art of singing. In the film, multiethnic young musicians combined modern folk elements with the Khoomei technique, forming a new musical style. Their music powerfully illustrates Mongolian nature and the nomadic lifestyle.

Yarlung Zanpo Grand Canyon presents a group of Chinese wildlife photographers who went to the most inaccessible canyon in the Tibet autonomous region and photographed more than 800 wild species and the beautiful landforms.

"I attend many Chinese New Year celebration activities," Kam Liu, 71, a veteran in the Chicago Chinese community says. "This is so different and beautiful."

"I love the shadow puppetry," said Adam Para of Chicago.

Para said that he had been to China many times, but this was the first time he was exposed to the art of shadow puppetry. Para shows a text message on his cell phone from his 20-year-old granddaughter who said she had attended a Chinese New Year celebration in London. "We love celebrating Chinese New Year," he says, laughing.

"I'm stunned by the beauty of the photographs," the 49-year-old Guillermo Morales who came from Chile and lives in Chicago now says. "The wildlife and sceneries the photographers were able to capture are amazing."

"I find the Mongolian musicians most amazing," Martin Montoya, a friend of Morales, says. "The singing is so dynamic and powerful."

The Chinese Consulate General in Chicago provided stuffed animals and other items as raffle awards for the attendees.

Jessica Peterson, 43, who was visiting Chicago from Minneapolis, was among 10 lucky winners of the raffle awards.

"This is a happy rat," she says, raising two identical red stuffed rats in her hands. "My 10-year-old son will love them."

The citywide Chinese New Year celebration in Chicago started on Jan 25 and will last until Sunday. Programs include a variety of performances, parades, special events and hands-on artistic activities.

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