tv Doc Film - Traveling with the Jinju Deutsche Welle December 20, 2018 4:15am-5:00am CET
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book the book of. joshua of course it's difficult the winters are harsh the summer sweltering with them but whether it's raining or windy or snowing it doesn't matter we must put on our costumes and carry on as usual. but. actually made out of we chose this profession out of passion as the show must go on photos which.
but. far from the city lights of shanghai and beijing pigeon jew travelling opera troupe journey tirelessly through the remote countryside of northern china going from village to village day after day wherever audiences still await their arrival. here they get on to much of what they have all the uprise we were
a part of this year which was your favorite. it's hard to say. but of all the ones we've already done. i think my favorite is shot dong. that's true and the song by mr queen is just magnificent however the song i prefer the most is the last one in song i especially when sung by folks are we it's a really wonderful. travelling opera troops have been crisscrossing china from east to west and from north to south for thousands of years only a handful remain today. mr loose troop is one of the few that are left. there traveling through shanxi province in central china that is often seen as the birthplace of chinese civilization it's a rural area that has somehow missed out on china's economic boom and the explosion of megacities. taking over the country. the troupe is like
a family all ages and each with their own story and reasons for choosing this i ten or at lifestyle at times bringing husbands wives and children with them around the world. like i'm twenty years old and i'm from a small village in shanghai. i had to leave my parents when i was twelve and i joined the company after studying at an opera school. in the beginning i was so young that i really missed my parents. i remember crying a lot back then. i've been here for four years now and how can i put it things have changed. i don't know if i like this life but i've gotten used to it.
we don't have much time to set up the stage. oh. this is a typical village one where farmers spend their time in their fields and entertainment is rare. the one or two times a year that the opera comes to town are still a big event a moment of a scape and welcome or spike from the calm of life in the countryside. all over. the troop will stay for two days maybe three they live out of suitcases no where is home but everywhere is home this time they found lodgings in an abandoned school leaver is the youngest performer in the group she didn't choose this life for herself her family decided for her in an attempt to help or avoid a future of labor and poverty. what time are we going on tonight around eight
thirty pm. ok so we should be done around eleven pm oh midnight. that means we'll probably only get to bed around one am it's going to be a long tiring night. how long are we staying here four or five days i think last time we stayed five days so it will probably be the same thing. the last place where we performed was much better. than. the village has been expecting the troupe the opera is by no means just fun it's seen as an offering to the gods of barter in exchange for amusing them the people hope their wishes for a prosperous harvest good health or the birth of
a boy will be granted. in its own way the opera is as much a religious service as it is entertainment. and it's more fun to watch a performance then to go to the temple. than any other night ladies and gentlemen first timers and upper regulars good evening and welcome. tonight the role of tongue d'anna will be performed by one of our young actors the other roles will be performed by way yanking enjoy the show. thanks.
and the curtain goes up and the audience is taken back in time to ensure china through stories that capture the audience's imaginations all the shows take place in the same setting imperial china and revolve around timeless tales of intrigue love affairs and relationships between young and old characters some of them good and others powerful and evil. but all.
the moral of the story is usually positive and presented by bow god and the good judge a recurring character who writes wrongs and restores and justice before the curtain . levy is about to go on stage every night she plays the same part an imperial guard a small supporting role. that's because she's not only the youngest in the troupe but also the latest recruit she still has a long way to go before she can take center stage and perhaps one day with the queen's costume.
if you can even sample the logic of course i dream a success. but to get that one has to work very hard. and it's difficult for young people to work their way up. we generally go to bed very late. and is hard and tiring to get up so early and to get to work quickly. but i do want to have leading roles and get better at what i do which would also mean i den more money. was. the anyone knew. that yeah. so do i pass nanny what i prefer in traditional chinese art press on the male
question. but rather those designed for women. i love to watch them. i love to watch them because they truly magnificent especially at night. night brings a special ambience to the show. i think it's better than a daytime performance. when i watch the show from the wings with the magic of the lights in full effect i think it's breathtaking. as night falls the actors are transformed into kings princesses heroes and gods come morning they are once again mere mortals performers on the outskirts of society in precarious living conditions a life of thin sleeping mats on the floors of temples villagers homes or backstage . and lending.
to tell. you is the troops lead singer and artistic director he joined the team when he was just sixteen years old his son also wants to be a performer but he dreams of beijing opera the most reputable form of this traditional art he doesn't want a life on the road performing for villagers. but . i always tell my son that if he likes this profession he must go for it if he fights he will succeed he will be if you. don't hope like. performing an opera that fits this region. i like the beijing opera but i couldn't join because my family wasn't part of the right social class i had no chance of
even addition in there. the beijing offer is bigger and more prestigious than ours but it doesn't reach the people. it's also a lot less demanding. time. he says. to tell you. in small villages the arrival of the opera is a huge event. farmers rarely stop working they have such a difficult life. we offer them a moment of respite. distractions are rare here but they allow themselves to get comfortable and enjoy the show we put on. people from neighboring villages have also come the songs and dances the costumes and the ancient story lines offer a three hour
a skate from the hard daily grind of life on the farm and work in the fields in the heat of a summer day it's an older crowd that gathers for the show along with a few children. every year the audiences seem to have shrunk a reflection of the rural exodus that has left entire regions empty and which has no end in sight. or. for those who remain all generations of a family lived together in one small home and they do not share the same opinions nor see eye to eye when it comes to opera and maintaining traditions.
my neighbor told me the operas here. i have too much work i can't go. and there's no point in that i'm not sure i want to go yeah you're right it's always the same especially when we don't understand the story. you young people don't understand the tradition. it's endless sometimes it lasts over three hours. on top of that you can imagine last time i was so tired after working all day that i fell asleep but you don't know your stories nor the characters that are the stars of the show. for pillage life is nice. the air is pure.
there's no pollution here. the city is more practical and more modern but here we live among nature. i love the opera cost the clothing is just incredible the long dresses are magnificent all of that the costumes the shoes it's like a bouquet of flowers. was was. was shot tonight the show starts at eight pm sharp.
what are we performing again since. he will do the long version about three and a half hours it. will have the honor to have gene went onstage with us so. there's no. and what are we performing tomorrow morning to more morning we have the pleasure of performing dong starring our second team of actors. for tonight's show i need you all to concentrate. and to really work together to ensure the show's a success the expectations are high tonight this audience is passionate about opera so we need to give them our best from the heart that we. you know are.
commercial more than average or maybe even opera the lyrics are beautiful and the singing his very delicate it's not the language we speak every day in opera everything is beautiful all the actors the gestures the musical instruments the songs the makeup the actresses who play the parts. it's a fascinating world. was. was.
it. was. her that. night after night paying lead plays the queen and wears the costumes of noble women and emphasis she's the one that all the young singers in the troupe admire and the audience is most desolate by. being lee has lived. on stage and on the road since she was a child to the performers jewish is more of an art than a career and over time it becomes a way of life and a destiny. so that. i must have been seven or eight years old when the opera first came to my village. i remember thinking the make up and the hairstyles were magnificent and. i sneaked
backstage so i could watch the actors get ready it was like a dream i didn't think then that i would make that my career but i wanted to be part of that world so badly and yes i was about seven or eight years old on. the school's out for the holidays and pings daughter has come to see her sharing her life on the road for a few days it's rare that they get to see each other with her mother away for most of the year the little girl is raised by her family on the outskirts of beijing. you know. we don't have a lot of contact with people outside the troop we keep to ourselves the days tend to run together we travel eat sleep and then it's time to put on makeup and perform . but it leaves no room for having
a family oh yeah i couldn't give jingjing the love and care that she needed and her father wasn't there for her either it's just not fair for the children. some days are more difficult than others. the rain started this morning and will continue for several days but rain or shine the shows must go on at a pace of two to three performances daily. i can do for you how many people live here around four hundred people how do you sustain yourselves what do you grow in your fields or do we grow yes as a corn. corn and vegetables but this year was a very poor harvest. the harvest was bad because of weather conditions and the farmers don't make enough money it's very difficult for everyone
. and you you we're with the upper true was she doing here where performing an opera. does this opera have a name. we're performing jealousy junction. i see i did and it was the thing is an excellent come see us tonight ok well try how much if i buy two for your. let's teach. you i mean one more you oh yes sorry. about this one up now and her traveling companions are used to these kinds of places that no one usually visits. to avoid boredom they often go out and meet the people letting them know that something extraordinary is about to take place in their village. it's the oprah they arrived this
morning. come see us perform tonight why not do you live far. great. the operator schooled changi jan chan you like it this ng is a very talented. do you like opera yes but i don't have time for that. the show is found be less we're performing tasks he shouts an. hour i working tonight as well yes over there. you can watch the show and work at the same time has business not very good. there aren't a lot of people here do you not live in this village no i live higher up there aren't a lot of people here that's for sure. looks like we spent almost all our money yeah in very little time and it was tough to
earn. we bought lots of food for about fifty yuan. lots of things to eat and to snack on. there's no one in this village and not a lot to do. i can't wait to leave there's nothing fun to do here. with far from everything it's not very lively. how long are we staying here. about four days i imagine. so boring. yeah not a lot to do it feels really remote. and. setting up the stage takes almost an entire day the artists who agreed to handle
this long and tedious task are rewarded with a small bonus. the others drop off their bags where they'll be staying with some villagers who agreed to put them up in exchange for some money. the father making man stuff tomatoes he smells really good the tomatoes are from the garden grown without pesticides it's better that way they look wonderful. oh. yeah. i'm so hungry we've been on the road and we haven't eaten since this morning i see you eat badly you're too skinny. upper is too tough for these youngsters. and you really travel all year round from village to village. yes around that must be difficult.
during high season we never stop then during low season things quiet down a bit. are you sure you'll perform tonight with all that rain coming down. if this stage is uncovered will cancel we can't perform for soaking wet but if it's covered well definitely perform in fact if the audience shows up we have to perform . when you come see us tonight. if you perform i will come. the food is delicious.
yes. because. since i was little i've always felt. that today i can provide for myself and also help my family. i'm even able to save a little money and help my mother. provided i'm careful about my spending and. i come from a very poor family so i do whatever i can and work hard to help all of. that is my destiny has given me a better life. we
managed to adapt. and always end up getting used to this way of life. this country's enormous it's like a never ending journey. but it's a chance for us to discover new cultures. the public is full of praise and always compliment us. it's a wonderful reward because the work is extremely difficult. we're very lucky. that's what motivates us to continue. the next stop is almost one hundred kilometers to the east even farther from beijing and its prestigious operas a forgotten region it's
a bit like the soft underbelly of a very large dragon if i don't know what other when do you think we'll finish this tour. we still have four operas to do maybe five. so we have about twenty days to go. we could explore nas on park we could have some fun once the tour is over then go home and finally get some rest. and you know what do you plan to do. later. i'm going to rest fast and i have back in travel a bit where to. beijing. in beijing you can visit the imperial palace it's a fantastic place. it's very beautiful inside. if i had a bit of time i'd love to go to shanghai i've never been before. people say they have
beautiful shops and boutiques there. i hope we can have some fun once the tour is over the work is so tiring yes under stress with. i situation is pitiful it's so hard we don't have a minute of rest not a moment to relax or decompress. thanks. to the being is our principal actress there are different types of roles for women in the age and you opera and she plays all the lead female roles. not only is she talented but she's also a beautiful person inside so of course i want to be like her. she's a role model for me.
and. it's so great is deeply you round out your wrist there you go eric it. stand tall as if your father were here. so turn your rarest and let your eyes follow its movement. you. could do that sometimes it gets tough but you have to practice every day you need to train starting early in the morning work every second never stop. look at me i think all the time even very softly during every waking moment. whatever you do
laundry cooking you must think it's a daily task. it's a job that never stops. and doesn't just happen like that in fact it takes a lifetime all good. or. the truth is greeted by a group of villagers the locals do not regularly participate in religious services usually only monks perform rituals and ceremonies but today it's different. it's the birthday of a local god so the artists will be honoring him with songs and music. or.
called suzanne jeezy. i played the role of susan look at how the sun comes from a rich family but her parents die in a tragic accident. so her aunt takes her into raise her unfortunately she has no money so she sells she signed to an old rich men all are coming up the man is in biggert and mean. and he and his family beat forces on constantly we are they hate her so much they decide to poison her food and all hearts but that day suzanne is sick and can't swallow anything will come the go with a man its her food in her place and dies in incredible pain and built after his death so the son is sold to a brothel where she meets a very handsome young man i do agree that. he is rich and they fall deeply in love with one another so i.
to burlesque to tragedy to circus our actors have to spend around seven hours a day on stage to make as much as a blue collar worker. but the opera is a colorful contrast to the gloom of a factory or mine and performers travel for eight months at a time making people laugh and cry all over the country. for. what is human. thanks. feast.
one of. them. while they dream of heading back home to their villages and families the bus takes them farther and farther away each day to faraway corners in the north of the country to conquer new audiences. it's the first time the opera has ventured into this region located in between shanxi and inner mongolia where and how will they find
a place to sleep will the audience turn out for their show. how many days and nights will they need to stay before continuing their journey. a trip just arrived in the neighboring village. and they perform operas. i've heard they're very good would you like to go ok. all right let's see if we can convince your grandmother to join us. let's get to it we still have a bit of work to finish first and that is. did you hear about tonight show in the nearby village. i don't have money to go. so you're not going. i doubt it even if they only come once a year well then pay me what you owe me ok. last year we couldn't go the
harvest was too poor did you go how was it. it was great really excellent well i hope i can make it this time. you know. as only i know. you're wrong. don't. you think i have enough work to look old not at all but it would be good for you to have a little fun your grandson will be happy. the last time i saw or not pray your father was still alive that was a long time ago. we were gone for a few days it was a long trip. come on don't stay at home. for my grandson is a good boy. back again. in
these parts not many people move away from their villages. but the fact that the ginger troop have stopped by in the neighboring village is a good excuse to escape every day life and go on an adventure take a break from harsh reality and opportunity to enjoy life and to experience a bit of cultural magic and beauty that is thousands of years old an opportunity to reconnect with others and come together with a community and a chance to rediscover history whether real or fantasy through splendor that will live on as long as the ginger troops continue their travels. in eastern culture the stories of our ancestors and those of modern life are inextricably linked never separated. therefore traditional chinese opera will never
disappear. we give life to characters of a bygone era us of course all of this is beautified on stage to provide maximum enjoyment to help us remember our origins and those who came before us so they can remain in our memories but nothing will ever replace traditional opera it will live on forever. look look look look look look look look look look look look look look look. look.
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