Friday, August 8, 2008
One Hell of a Show
Artistic director Zhang Yimou has made China proud.
His effort in orchestrating the Beijing opening ceremonies left veteran Olympics journalists gobsmacked with his vision of how China would be presented to the world.
He looked back to culture -- calligraphy, painting, Chinese instruments, and tai chi, and using a giant scroll as his canvas to illustrate the country's strengths and talents.
The military precision of the performers was amazing. Apparently most of them come from the artistic troupes of the People's Liberation Army. In a way it's not surprising since they are used to discipline and can be counted on to do a good job.
And they help further Zhang's love of wide-angle shots with hundreds of people doing the exact same thing. The drummers in the beginning were fantastic as well as the people wearing white and LED lights that changed colours constantly.
However, pianist Lang Lang has really put on the weight. You can see it on his cheeks. He must be eating well these days. It was strange having the young girl sitting next to him looking totally star-struck and giddy.
The only non-Chinese performer was Sarah Brightman who had extra long hair extensions and wore a sparkly white dress. It was kind of disappointing to see composer Liu Huan accompanying her wearing just a casual black shirt. Could he not have dressed up for the occasion?
The holograms of the whales probably made those inside the stadium feel like they were underwater too, with a tip to Beijing being a "Green Olympics".
And periodically fireworks would go off on the roof of the Bird's Nest and in the area.
The parade of the athletes took a long time, with over 200 countries participating. But the French were definitely the best dressed along with the Italians, then the Americans with their sharp and cool suits.
It was thankful International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge and Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee President Liu Qi kept their speeches short and then President Hu Jintao had the honour of declaring the Games open.
The grand finale of former Olympic champion Li Ning suspended on cables and "running" around near the top of the stadium as a scroll rolled out.
And the fireworks at the end were amazing. They were all over the place and they fired non-stop lighting up the (hazy) sky. They just kept going on and on, like non-stop thunder.
But after the show was over, everyone just packed up and went home. There wasn't much traffic on the streets and had a kind of eerie feeling to it.
Guess that's partying, Chinese-style.