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Grand Olympic Opening Ceremony in the Making
    2008-07-03 06:48:27     China Daily

The "Bird's Nest" National Stadium, where the opening ceremony will take place, lights up the skyline of Beijing at night. [File Photo: China Daily]

By Raymond Zhou

The Olympic opening ceremony is in rehearsal. But until it is unveiled in the evening of August 8, the extravaganza will remain a State secret, known to only those involved.

What will the performance be like? Will it be the mother of all stadium shows?

Without any inside information - even if we had, we couldn't tell you, or we'd have to kill you afterwards - we'll mount the mother of educated conjectures, just to intrigue you and make Zhang Yimou's job of creating surprises more difficult.

Director Zhang Yimou. [File Photo: China Daily]
Now, we know Zhang, artistic director of the Beijing Olympic ceremonies, is an artist of versatility. He is equally comfortable with art-house flicks and blockbuster epics; he has helmed three tourism-oriented open-air shows and three productions of Western operas.

Unless he reinvents himself from the ground up, a Zhang Yimou aesthetic is not difficult to discern. Our guess is based on his existing oeuvre, which we believe reflects and encompasses his artistic upbringing and convictions.

Zhang has a penchant for bright colors.

The trio of films that established him in the international arena, Red Sorghum, Ju Dou and Raise the Red Lantern, all made daring use of the color red. It is a symbol of passion - sometimes forbidden passion. In folk culture, it is also celebratory. Many of the ornaments for Chinese holidays, such as banners, lanterns and clothes, accentuate red as the essential element in the color scheme.

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