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Yang Ban Xi: The 8 Model Works
Cinema Arts Centre
Huntington, NY
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Yang Ban Xi: The 8 Model Works
In Person: Director Yan-Ting Wuen

Includes Post-screening Reception

DURING CHINAS CULTURAL REVOLUTION (1966-76), THE PRODUCTIONS RED DETACHMENT OF WOMEN AND THE WHITE-HAIRED GIRL featured ballerinas pirouetting with rifles held aloft and male dancers executing venal landlords. On screen and stage these fiercely propagandistic stories, part Chinese classical ballad, part MGM musical, in which songs praising Mao always seemed to coincide with a glorious sunrise, were termed yang ban xi, and they were the only form of art allowed. (Traditional opera was banned by Maos wife, Jiang Qing  one of the infamous Gang of Four, later blamed for the Cultural Revolutions violent excesses.) Of the 13 or so revolutionary operas (essentially dramatic ballets with song), eight of the most popular were termed the 8 Model Works. Captured on film in gorgeous Technicolor and Scope, their influence was incalculable  the main performers became instant stars, revered throughout China. Today, young Chinese who crowd Starbucks cafes and modern discotheques are starting to learn about the very different world that was China just decades ago  yet the Yang Ban Xi remain curiously alive, as two vibrant contemporary dance numbers done for this film attest. This Dutch production blends archival footage of the bad old days with interviews with Chinese baby boomers who sometimes wax nostalgic for what was, after all, their version of the 60s. Chinas growingly sophisticated population, especially its young people who are comfortable with the accoutrements of Western pop culture, is seen in relief against their nations recent history. The contradictions are mind-boggling. (Netherlands, 2005, 90 min., color, Dir: Yan-Ting Yuen)



Cinema Arts Centre
423 Park Ave
Huntington, NY 11743
United States

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Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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