Chinese Kunqu opera is making an appearance at the International Rome Film Festival. A short film about the ancient artform has been given its first public screening in the Italian capital. The film will compete in the festival’s Cinema XXI section, and is already causing quite a stir for its unique theme.
The latest work by Hong Kong based director Yonfan（杨凡）, "Lü" is an 11-minute film about Chinese traditional opera, or Kunqu. The film showcases the beauty of the 600-year-old theater craft in a creative way. The film stars Lin Weilin, chief of the Kunqu Performing Company of Zhejiang, in the leading role. The story is about the struggle of a Kunqu Performer to bring innovation to this age old opera style.
"Kunqu is the most ancient performing art in China. It has a great tradition. Although the story in "Lu" was created by me and Lin, we didn’t want to destroy the tradition, we just wanted to add some innovation to it. We finally managed to make it work." Director Yonfan said.
"Lü" is a re-edited and extended version of another short film by Yonfan called "Yun", which was presented at the Venice Film Festival two months ago.
"When the Venice Film Fest invited me to shoot a 1-minute film, I was wondering what to do, since I’d been away from film production for 5 years. I thought that Kunqu is my favorite, and I’d like to do something about it, so I made a 1-minute miniclip for Venice. Because we had spent a lot to accomplish it, I decided to make an extended version." Yonfan said.
Yon Fan is well-known for his masterpiece, called "Beauty" （美少年之恋）, which was enthusiastically received in Berlin in 1999. His first work about Kunqu was the documentary "Breaking the Willow"（凤冠情事）, which participated in the Venice Film Festival in 2003.