Peking Opera on big screen

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A project has brought together top opera companies and movie studios to convert classic Peking Opera titles into feature-length movies, including The Mirror of Fortune and The Chinese Orphan. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Liu Changyu, a famous Peking Opera artist, says: "The big screen can highlight facial expressions, gestures and relevant details to give the audience a clearer view of the performance.

"Also, as seats in traditional theaters are limited, the cinematic versions can overcome the limitations of time and space, and give classic performances immortality.

"So, even though the artists pass away, the essence of their performances can be preserved."

Echoing her words, Ma Chongjie, director of the Peking Opera films Xie Yaohuan and The Chinese Orphan, says such movies are a treasure for future generations.

Xie Yaohuan is about a female official from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) who serves the Empress Wu Zetian, while The Chinese Orphan is an unlikely story about revenge.

Focusing on the challenges faced in making such movies, Ma says: "The main issues for the crews are how to shoot such a film and what content to keep out."

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