Just finished watching the epically cool Olympic Opening Ceremonies from Beijing and all I can say is, rock on Zhang Yimou!
The most acclaimed of China’s Fifth Generation of filmmakers, Yimou has always been one of my favorites, but after watching the magic he worked as director of this year’s opening ceremonies, well…wow! Give this dude a gold medal already!
I already knew Yimou was a bad-ass storyteller with a killer eye for detail — if you haven’t seen “Ju Dou”, “Raise The Red Lantern”, “Hero” and the shockingly subversive “Happy Times”, rent them, immediately! — but who knew he could create something so breathtakingly beautiful on such a gigantic scale?
Utilizing upwards of 15,000 individual performers, Yimou crafted an opening ceremonies for the ages, and whatever you think about China and the power-mad oldies running the country, that show kicked some serious ass! The costumes, the movement, the scope…this show had everything.
And unlike previous opening ceremonies where details tend to get lost in the mix, Yimou took the time to highlight some really delicate, intricately beautiful moments. The little girl with the kite? The old dude at the end running sideways to light the Olympic torch?
Hell, even the way those crazy dancers moved around that glowing globe while Sarah Brightman sang her heart out (in what sounded like Chinese!) with Chinese pop star Liu Huan…amazing!
And though Christine and I reached for the kleenex more than a few times during the four hour-plus show, I think our favorite moment of the night was when nine-year-old earthquake survivor, Lin Hao lead the Chinese athletes into the Bird’s Nest beside the towering Yao Ming. Oh…my…God…so awesome!
And best of all, that was just the first night of the Olympics! Yay! Bring it on, Beijing! We won’t stop taping till our Tivo catches fire!