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Dialing into tradition

By Fang Aiqing | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-01-20 07:52
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Director Song Pengfei shares the inspiration for the screenplay and anecdotes from behind the scenes of the short film Guo Wu Guan (Through the Five Passes) that celebrates the coming Lunar New Year. CHINA DAILY

Lunar New Year film explores the perseverance of Peking Opera performers during the art form's 1980s decline, Fang Aiqing reports.

'I can't let go of it," young Peking Opera performer Gu Zhaohui says, when asked why he stuck to the traditional art form, which saw a significant decline in its appeal during the late 1980s.

That was a time when many of his fellow troupe members turned to disco, pop music and break dancing to make ends meet. However, Gu stayed, even though the showtime was cut to only 5 minutes one night to make way for those more popular forms of expression.

When the other performers felt too angry or humiliated to go onstage, Gu, in his 20s, but already a veteran, insisted on completing his one-man show, playing Guan Yu, an ancient general known for his courage and faith.

Based on his childhood experience, director Song Pengfei wrote such a story for Guo Wu Guan (Through the Five Passes), Apple's now traditional Lunar New Year film, shot entirely using iPhones and released on Jan 12.

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